Tag Archive | Bible

What are you feeding your mind?

The Word of God says Jesus is coming back for a church without spot or wrinkle. I want to be part of that and I expect all followers of Christ do too! So why is it we see so many in the body of Christ  more concerned about watching the next big game, or episode of their favorite tv show than they are about being ready for our Kings return? We need to be like the virgins with their lampstands and be ready! Sadly we have allowed our minds to become too preoccupied with  temporal things and have shelved eternal things, thinking we can always get back to them.

I feel a stirring in my heart that I need to lay aside the things that easily distract me and move into a deeper walk with Jesus. I have spoken to many people lately that have that same stirring. So how do we go about doing that? We need to start by changing what we are feeding our minds. If we haven’t been reading our Bibles it’s time to get back to doing that. It’s our love letter from our Father and without it we will not grow spiritually. We need to humble ourselves and ask for forgiveness for putting anything and or everything before Him. We need to renew our minds on truth.  Our walk with Christ is a journey from glory to glory. In order to grow more like our Savior we need to spend time with Him in prayer and spend time in His Word renewing our minds.

As much as I like to watch and read current news, I realize though it  informs me of the troubles of the world,  it can’t offer any real solutions. And though I like to educate myself on issues like health, food, gardening etc.. I need to bear in mind that these things too are temporal. Good to know but if I am spending more time on them than time with the lover of my soul, my walk with Him will begin to suffer.  The things we spend the most time feeding  our minds on are the things that will grow and flourish within us. What we feed grows and what we neglect dies that’s why it is so critical to keep our minds set on eternal things. Otherwise, our walk with Christ will suffer greatly and our growth will stop. We will find ourselves stumbling around in the dark wondering what happened? We lose our peace, joy, spiritual discernment and so many other things that God freely gives us when we don’t abide in Him.

If you find yourself in that place now, cry out to Jesus. Ask Him to forgive you for putting anyone or anything before Him, confess your sins to Him. His Word tells us that,  If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from ALL unrighteousness. ( 1John 1:9)  He longs to have fellowship with you again! Get back into the Word of God. Just as your body needs food daily, so does your spirit. Begin to renew your mind on the things of God through His Word. Aim to spend less time on the temporal and more on the eternal, where the fruit born is eternal.

Romans 12:2 NIV2 Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—His good, pleasing and perfect will.

2 Corinthians 10:5 NIV 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.

Phillipians 4:8 NIV Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

News worth sharing!

I know I am not alone in noticing the exciting changes in the Church. By church, I don’t mean my church only but the body of Christ in general. It appears so many more believers are getting serious about their relationship with Christ. The atmosphere is changing. There is a deeper hunger for more of God and less religion, pomp and pretense!

In our church, sometimes the presence of God is so precious that people don’t want to leave. But leave we must! We are very blessed to be able to corporately meet in prayer, fellowship and worship but God does not want us to hoard Jesus. He wants us to share the gospel so that all men and women everywhere have an opportunity to come to know the lover of their souls! The Bible confirms this in 1Timothy 2: 1-7 NIV 2 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people— 2 for kings and all those in authority, that we may live peaceful and quiet lives in all godliness and holiness. 3 This is good, and pleases God our Savior, 4 who wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth. 5 For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus, 6 who gave himself as a ransom for all people. This has now been witnessed to at the proper time. 7 And for this purpose I was appointed a herald and an apostle—I am telling the truth, I am not lying—and a true and faithful teacher of the Gentiles.

It’s important that we meet regularly and be taught by our Pastors and pray with and be encouraged by our brothers and sisters in Christ but let’s not forget the gospel is the “good news” and news is to be shared! Ask the Lord today how you can be used to share the good news. There are so many hurting, broken people that need Christ and if we don’t share the gospel with them, who will?

Keep it simple!

The Gospel message is simple. It is a message of God’s love demonstrated to us through Jesus. Jesus, who willingly laid down His life for us so that men and women everywhere could be saved. By believing in Jesus and asking Him to forgive us for all our sins, confessing Him with our mouth and being baptized we are given a NEW LIFE.

Romans 10:9-10 NIV If you declare with your mouth, “Jesus is Lord,” and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. 10 For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you profess your faith and are saved.

Acts 2:38 NIV  38 Peter replied, “Repent and be baptized, every one of you, in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. And you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.


Over the years men and women have complicated the simplicity of the Gospel with all kinds of man made traditions. But it is a simple message of love that requires our hearts turning to and yielding to Jesus Christ, our Savior and King. The message is complete in the Bible. We are not allowed to add to or take away from the Gospel message. It needs neither!

If you find yourself frustrated or confused about your faith, begin by reading the Bible again. Ask God to bring you fresh revelation of His Word.  Perhaps its time you and I spent more alone time in reading His Word and less time asking others for answers we need to be finding ourselves. Fellowship is wonderful, but is no replacement for the time each of us should spend learning of the lover of our soul through His love letter to us, the Word of God.

The time we spend in God’s Word is never wasted time. It is life changing. It is supernatural. It has the answers to life’s challenges and difficulties. Simplify your life, and get back into His Word. It will give you a clearer picture of what is important and what needs to be put aside. Untangle yourself from religious  dogma and embrace God’s love that has been bought and paid for by Christ. That is the gospel that is preached in the Bible. That is the gospel we need to share with those who still don’t know.

Lay aside selfishness

If we were to believe many of the “self help gurus” today, we would be convinced that it  is not only emotionally healthy but  in our best interest  to put ourselves and our desires first. After all doesn’t everyone deserve to be happy, regardless of what pain and suffering our actions may cause others?  Sadly, doing just that has produced so many of the problems we are currently dealing with in society. Selfish ambitions and desires have often replaced care and concern for others,  including our own family members. How many marriages and families have split because one or both partners decided they no longer liked the restrictions of monogamy or grew tired of pouring themselves into the raising of and nurturing their children. There are so many lonely kids growing up in homes where they are considered an after thought. Just check out the Children’s Aid Society  or Child Services stats. In most cases, the family problems started with one or both parents choosing a selfish desire over their loved ones.

I’m not advocating that anyone should stay in a dangerous or unfaithful marriage. That’s a decision each person has to make for themselves but I am suggesting that most of the problems come about as a result of our selfish desires and ambitions.  We begin to look for greener grass elsewhere instead of investing and improving our own relationships or situations. Decisions are made on feelings alone, which at best are fickle and at worst can be downright dangerous.

As followers of Christ, the Word of God has lots to say on the matter of selfishness. If we are to love as Christ loves, we have to learn to surrender our selfish ambitions and be willing to line ourselves up with the Word of God. We shouldn’t be tossed to and fro by our emotions. We need to regularly be reading the Bible and staying close to the lover of our soul. When we neglect to do either we begin to surrender much too easily to the whims of our emotions.  Acting on emotions alone will have us riding an emotional and spiritual  roller coaster.  Too often, we see  Christians compromising their walk with Christ  as they act on their feelings. It not only impedes their walk  but the fall out wounds the entire body!

Here are just a few words from the Bible on selfishness….

 James 3:13-17 NIV  13 Who is wise and understanding among you? Let them show it by their good life, by deeds done in the humility that comes from wisdom. 14 But if you harbor bitter envy and selfish ambition in your hearts, do not boast about it or deny the truth. 15 Such “wisdom” does not come down from heaven but is earthly, unspiritual, demonic. 16 For where you have envy and selfish ambition, there you find disorder and every evil practice. 17 But the wisdom that comes from heaven is first of all pure; then peace-loving, considerate, submissive, full of mercy and good fruit, impartial and sincere.                                                                                                                                                                                        Psalm 119:36 NIV, David knew the importance of what he was asking of God when he said, 36 Turn my heart toward your statutes and not toward selfish gain.

We serve a mighty God, who loved us enough to send His precious Son to redeem us. Let’s put aside selfish ambition and walk worthy of the calling God has put on our lives or as Paul penned in Hebrews 12:1 NIV  Let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us,fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before Him He endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.

“Every man must decide whether he will walk in the light of creative altruism or in the darkness of destructive selfishness.”~Martin Luther King, Jr.

Everyone has a part in the play of life

 The past several weeks we have been working on our church play, “The Sounds of Love.”  Practices have made our Sundays even busier than usual. As with any project, there is always work leading up to the end result.  Sometimes the practices times have been inconvenient, sometimes they have gone on longer than expected and they will continue until the play has been performed. With all this effort our hope is the end result will be as wonderful as it promises to be. This morning I was thinking how similar prepping for our play is to our walk of faith.
First off, we had to hear the story. Without knowing the overall story it would be impossible to know what the play was about and where each of us characters fit into it. As followers of Christ, the Bible is our “story line”. It is God’s inspired word that tells the beginning from the end. It also provides us with our identity as children of the Most High God.
Isaiah 46:10 NIV 10 I make known the end from the beginning,from ancient times, what is still to come. I say, “My purpose will stand, and I will do all that I please.”
Secondly, we needed a director. Without direction from someone that knows each and everything about the play from beginning to end, we would simply be stumbling about trying to make our own way, depending on our own understanding as to OUR interpretation of the play. Clearly, as believers, the director in our lives is God. Without God’s direction and wisdom, most of us have and would continue to make a mess of our lives.
Proverbs 3:5-6 NIV 5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding;6 In all your ways submit to Him and He will make your paths straight.
Thirdly, there needs to be a producer.  In the case of our church play, this would be the church itself.  Someone willing to pay for the price of the production. Absorb the costs in order for the goal to be accomplished. Without question, in our walk of faith this is Christ.  Sinless, yet willing to lay down HIS life as the ultimate price for our sins!
1John2:1,2 NIV 2 My dear children I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anyone does sin we have an advocate with the Father-Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.2 He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.
Fourthly, we need to study our lines or parts. If we don’t know the words or actions required we get lost and so the story gets lost on the audience. Clearly, this is the same in our walk with Christ. We need to be reading the Bible. Without knowing our position in Christ, we can easily be rocked to and fro and not be  the “beacon” to others we are called to be.
2 Timothy 2:15 KJV 15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needs not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.
And finally we need to perform our parts. If even one of us doesn’t carry out our roll the message of the story gets lost. We each have a part to perform and we are to do it to the best of our ability, relying on our director as we do. As we walk out our parts we fulfill the purpose of the overall story. In our walk with Christ, each of us has a roll to play in sharing the gospel. No one is insignificant in God’s eyes and He has created each of us with a purpose. If you haven’t found your purpose yet, ask God. He promises to equip each of us with giftings and they are available for the asking!
Romans 12:4-8 NIV 4For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. 6 We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is prophesying, then prophesy in accordance with your faith; 7 if it is serving, then serve; if it is teaching, then teach; 8 if it is to encourage, then give encouragement; if it is giving, then give generously; if it is to lead, do it diligently; if it is to show mercy, do it cheerfully.

Don’t spend your time on the sidelines watching others perform their rolls. Find out what God has for you and perform your roll gladly, leaning on Christ for wisdom and direction and you do!

Spring forward!

ECCLESIASTES 3:1 Spring to me is a time of new beginnings!  I love to garden and Spring gives me the opportunity to first  plan out my garden, start my seedlings, ready the soil and eventually plant the seedlings and seeds into the ground.

Just as Spring is a time of new beginnings for our gardens, it too can be a season of new beginnings in your walk with Christ. Easter brings us face to face with the One who willingly died for us. The One who provided a way of adoption into the family of God. Why not use this Spring as a time to get closer acquainted with the “lover of your soul?” Spend time in God’s word daily. Make everything a matter of prayer as opposed to worrying and fretting over things of which you have no control anyway. Spend time worshipping the One who created everything instead of worshipping His creation.

Why not determine to let go of some of the things in your life that are holding you back from moving forward in your walk with Christ? This will not happen unless you determine to do so!

Thankfully, God’s mercies are new every morning. It is never to late to get closer to our Creator. Pick up your Bible and read it! It is a supernatural book that will help you to grow into the person God designed you to be. Instead of looking to others for prayer, begin to seek God on behalf of others! If you’ve never fasted, perhaps it’s time to do so! As you lay aside distractions you will find yourself desiring more and more God’s presence in your life.

Spring is an awesome time to stir up the gift of faith that is in you and move forward. Don’t look back on the old cold days of winter, but move forward in joy and boldness without excuse!

Phillipians 3:12-14 NIV 12Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. 13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it.  But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

Are you reading the manual?

I am not a techie person.  I have a blackberry but know that there are many applications it offers that I have no idea how to use. Because I have not spent time reading the  manual, I am not able to fully utilize my blackberry and all it’s applications. I get by with what I use it for but I know I am not using it to it’s full potential. In order to operate anything at it’s full potential, we need to educate ourselves on it’s capabilities, how it best functions, and the  safety requirements etc.

Our walk with Christ works much the same. In order to walk out our faith victoriously we need to spend time in the word of God. It is our manual, so to speak. The word shows us our potential in Christ, how we are to walk in the Spirit and how to avoid the spiritual snares and pitfalls along the way.

If we choose to accept Christ and then coast through life without growing in our faith, we limit what God is able to do for us and through us. Instead, He has a better plan for each and every one of us. We are to grow in our love for Him and as our faith increases, we are able to be used by Him to love and reach out to others and demonstrate Christ’s love for them.  Neither our love nor our faith will grow without spending time in our Bibles.  The Bible is full of verses emphasizing the importance of God’s word.  Let’s look at just a few of them….

John 1:1 NIV1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.    God is His word. When we study God’s word we are learning of Him!

2 Timothy 2:15 KJV 15 Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that need not be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth.  We are all required to study the word of God. Through learning the scriptures we are able  discern truth and keep ourselves from falling into sin and the shame that follows.

Psalm 119:105 NIV 105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.  A lamp for our feet gives us illumination allowing us to see where we are at and a light on our path gives us illumination for where we are to go. This is an apt description of how reading God’s word will not only show us where we are currently at spiritually but  also gives us a clear direction to walk towards. It will keep us from stumbling around in the dark!

Hebrews 4:12 NIV 12 For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart.  Wow!  I love this verse. I have found when I wander away from reading God’s word I lose my sensitivity to sin and selfishness. There is incredible power in God’s word. When we read it daily we grow closer to the author and as we grow closer to Him, we see things in our lives that He sees. Things that others may never see but things He wants to deal with. Once exposed, we are able to bring these things to Him and ask for forgiveness and healing, thereby enabling us to be free to love and be loved and used for service.

2 Timothy 3:16-17 NIV 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.  This verse says it all. The word of God is the foundation of our faith. We can stand on it with full confidence! If we read it, apply it and walk in it we will be equipped for every good work!

If you want to fall deeper in love with Christ, grow in faith and be used by God it is vital that you study His word. Make 2013 your year to spend time daily not only in prayer, but in your Bible. It is a supernatural book and it will bring about supernatural results in your walk with Christ!

Psalm 119:16 NIV 16 I delight in your decrees; I will not neglect your word.

Psalm 119:16 NIV 16 I delight in your decrees;
I will not neglect your word.

He is NEVER late

We live in a rushing world. We rush to work, rush home to get dinner going, rush to the babysitters etc.. Seldom do we do things at a comfortable pace. Many of us our busy with our  jobs, family, cell phones, tv, internet and  electronic gadget and games! We move constantly, seldom taking the time to relax or unwind without filling that time with some type of distraction.

When we text, email or facebook message someone we are often annoyed if they do not respond immediately. We expect instant answers and responses.  People expect to be able to reach us through one means or another just about any hour of the day or night!  If we need information on anything we google it and receive info often within seconds. Waiting patiently has become a thing of the past.

When we spend so much of our life in high speed mode, it’s not surprising that we often come to God wanting instant answers. In case you haven’t discovered it yet, God does NOT work on our time schedule. 🙂 As we read in Isaiah 55:8-9 NIV “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the Lord. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.

Oftentimes, it is our arrogance and selfish nature that demand instant gratification with regards to our prayer life. We think we know how best to resolve a situation and basically tell God what He needs to do to bring the resolution about. Thankfully, He seldom does things as we expect.  He knows so much more..including the beginning and the end of things. He knows the heart of the people we may be working with, He knows the overall situation and circumstance and isn’t just interested in our interests but all His kids interests. He looks at the long term results of our character and what He wishes to accomplish in and through our lives. It is out of love for us that He  may delay an answer or deny us our request. He will NEVER respond to our prayers contrary to His word. He will NEVER respond against His very nature. He WILL respond at the right time with an answer that demonstrates His love and His nature, even if that response happens to be NO. Just as a loving parent at times will withhold something from their child knowing it is not in their best interest, so will God withhold from us anything that is not in His best interest for us. We are changing from glory to glory daily and part of that is becoming more Christlike in our character. Answering all our prayers in the way we want them answered could prevent this!

One of the most dramatic examples of God’s perfect timing in response to prayer can be found in the book of John. We read the story of Mary and Martha and their sick brother Lazarus.  John 11:1-44 NIV 11 Now a man named Lazarus was sick. He was from Bethany, the village of Mary and her sister Martha. (This Mary, whose brother Lazarus now lay sick, was the same one who poured perfume on the Lord and wiped his feet with her hair.) So the sisters sent word to Jesus, “Lord, the one you love is sick.”When he heard this, Jesus said, “This sickness will not end in death. No, it is for God’s glory so that God’s Son may be glorified through it.” Now Jesus loved Martha and her sister and Lazarus. So when he heard that Lazarus was sick, he stayed where he was two more days, and then he said to his disciples, “Let us go back to Judea.”“But Rabbi,” they said, “a short while ago the Jews there tried to stone you, and yet you are going back?” Jesus answered, “Are there not twelve hours of daylight? Anyone who walks in the daytime will not stumble, for they see by this world’s light. 10 It is when a person walks at night that they stumble, for they have no light.”11 After he had said this, he went on to tell them, “Our friend Lazarus has fallen asleep; but I am going there to wake him up.”12 His disciples replied, “Lord, if he sleeps, he will get better.” 13 Jesus had been speaking of his death, but his disciples thought he meant natural sleep.14 So then he told them plainly, “Lazarus is dead, 15 and for your sake I am glad I was not there, so that you may believe. But let us go to him.”16 Then Thomas (also known as Didymus) said to the rest of the disciples, “Let us also go, that we may die with him.” 17 On his arrival, Jesus found that Lazarus had already been in the tomb for four days. 18 Now Bethany was less than two miles from Jerusalem, 19 and many Jews had come to Martha and Mary to comfort them in the loss of their brother. 20 When Martha heard that Jesus was coming, she went out to meet him, but Mary stayed at home.21 “Lord,” Martha said to Jesus, “if you had been here, my brother would not have died. 22 But I know that even now God will give you whatever you ask.”23 Jesus said to her, “Your brother will rise again.” 24 Martha answered, “I know he will rise again in the resurrection at the last day.” 25 Jesus said to her, “I am the resurrection and the life. The one who believes in me will live, even though they die; 26 and whoever lives by believing in me will never die. Do you believe this?”27 “Yes, Lord,” she replied, “I believe that you are the Messiah, the Son of God, who is to come into the world.” 28 After she had said this, she went back and called her sister Mary aside. “The Teacher is here,” she said, “and is asking for you.” 29 When Mary heard this, she got up quickly and went to him. 30 Now Jesus had not yet entered the village, but was still at the place where Martha had met him. 31 When the Jews who had been with Mary in the house, comforting her, noticed how quickly she got up and went out, they followed her, supposing she was going to the tomb to mourn there. 32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.” 33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, He was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.35 Jesus wept.36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”37 But some of them said, “Could not he who opened the eyes of the blind man have kept this man from dying?”38 Jesus, once more deeply moved, came to the tomb. It was a cave with a stone laid across the entrance. 39 “Take away the stone,” he said.“But, Lord,” said Martha, the sister of the dead man, “by this time there is a bad odor, for he has been there four days.”40 Then Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believe, you will see the glory of God?” 41 So they took away the stone. Then Jesus looked up and said, “Father, I thank you that you have heard me. 42 I knew that you always hear me, but I said this for the benefit of the people standing here, that they may believe that you sent me.”43 When he had said this, Jesus called in a loud voice, “Lazarus, come out!” 44 The dead man came out, his hands and feet wrapped with strips of linen, and a cloth around his face. Jesus said to them, “Take off the grave clothes and let him go.” 

There were so many ways Jesus could have answered Mary and Martha’s prayers prior to Lazarus’ death. All it would have take would have been for Him to speak the word and Lazarus would have been healed. His will however, was to allow him to die and be resurrected thereby increasing the faith of the witnesses and glorifying God even more!  His ways are NOT our ways!

The more we spend time in God’s word and in prayer, the more we come to understand how very much God loves us!  The more we understand this, the more we are able to trust Him, even when He says no or not now. It is never out of cruelty but always out of  love. God is the Creator of the Universe, the Ancient of Days, the Great I AM, the Alpha and Omega and we must remember that when we come before Him.  He will not be manipulated or strong armed into doing things our way or else. Instead we can come before Him, through Christ,  and make our requests known and then trust that He who ALWAYS looks out for our long term best interest, will answer our prayer when and as He sees best.

2Peter 3:8-9 NIV But do not forget this one thing, dear friends: With the Lord a day is like a thousand years, and a thousand years are like a day. The Lord is not slow in keeping His promise, as some understand slowness. Instead He is patient with you, not wanting anyone to perish, but everyone to come to repentance.

Sound familiar?

Sound familiar?

From comforted to comforter

Have you noticed that when you are walking through a trial or difficult circumstance in your life you long to talk to others who have gone through the same or a similar journey as yours. Regardless of the type of trial, we really want to hear from others that have gone down the same road before us and how they coped and worked through their circumstance.  I remember when we lost our son Daniel in a car accident at the age of 20, I avoided talking to people that had pat answers and armchair solutions to my grief. I wanted to talk with other parents that had lost a child. They knew my suffering firsthand. They had walked the same road I was walking and had come through.

When my husband was diagnosed with cancer a few months back I found the same need. I wanted to talk to other people who had received the same diagnosis, and had worked through the treatment and come out the other side. They understood our questions and our concerns. We have been blessed to have friends that have shared lots of great information with us and been extremely helpful in understanding the road ahead. Their words have been invaluable!

God understands our need for help and comfort at times like this. Regardless of the nature of our suffering, we have an inner need for comfort and sharing during difficult times. Throughout my life, He has always provided believers that I could turn to for help and comfort when I needed it the most. People who had come through similar trials and challenges.

You may wonder from time to time, why we have trials at all?  The Bible contains many of the  purposes of trials in our life. Some of these reasons can be found in Romans 5:2-5 NIVThrough whom we have gained access by faith into this grace in which we now stand. And we boast in the hope of the glory of God. Not only so, but we also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.

As long as we are on this side of Heaven we will have trials. One of the things I am grateful for is the opportunity to see and feel the comfort of Christ during these times. He comforts us during our time of need and then allows us to comfort others with that same comfort He offers us. He offers us comfort as One who himself suffered deeply and willingly for us!  His words of comfort are not easy platitudes but are words from One who knows the pain of trials and suffering firsthand!

This is so beautifully described in 2 Corinthians 1:3-6 NIV Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God. For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ. If we are distressed, it is for your comfort and salvation; if we are comforted, it is for your comfort, which produces in you patient endurance of the same sufferings we suffer.

Though we don’t enjoy trials and times of suffering, we can choose to allow Christ to move mightily in us and through us during them. A day will come when because of our perseverance, character and hope through first hand experience with both of these, we will be able to offer the compassion and comfort of Christ to those in any trouble.

2 Corinthians 1:3-6 NIV 3 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, 4 who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.

Signs of the times are everywhere..

In my teens I used to hear about how things would get worse before Jesus returns.  Back then, when I looked around it was difficult to  to imagine some of the Bible verses actually coming to pass. Things in the world were a little crazy but peace still reigned, at least in my neck of the woods. There were difficult financial years and wars going on afar but North America still seemed like a haven for peace. All that has changed in the last ten years or so. There has been an increase in wars, famines and incredibly unpredictable weather conditions worldwide.  Things are heating up here in North America. Our religious freedoms are being attacked daily. Our leaders seem to lack leadership and seem as confused about what to do as the rest of the population.

All that being said, should Christians panic and worry. NO. We have been warned that all these things and plenty more would come to pass. It is not a surprise to anyone that has studied God’s word. Should we give up on the goals and purposes God has put in our hearts. Absolutely not!  We have been born for a time such as this.  It is all the more important that we live as God has called us to live. Serving and growing in his grace and wisdom. No man knows how much time we have. It could be 10 years, 20 years or 50 years. It really doesn’t matter. The important thing is that we fulfill our God ordained purposes. It is vital that we ask God for continued wisdom and direction for each and every one of our lives and that we stop wasting time! We need to be basking in Christ’s love and soaking in His word. After all, we know how it all ends.

If you have been getting spiritually lazy and not seeking God on a daily basis, it’s time to put aside your laziness and get on your knees before Him. Get back into the word of God and encourage yourself with His wonderful promises. Let’s look at a few of them..

Luke 12:35-40 NIV 35 “Be dressed ready for service and keep your lamps burning, 36 like servants waiting for their master to return from a wedding banquet, so that when he comes and knocks they can immediately open the door for him. 37 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them watching when he comes.Truly I tell you, he will dress himself to serve, will have them recline at the table and will come and wait on them. 38 It will be good for those servants whose master finds them ready, even if he comes in the middle of the night or toward daybreak. 39 But understand this: If the owner of the house had known at what hour the thief was coming, he would not have let his house be broken into. 40 You also must be ready, because the Son of Man will come at an hour when you do not expect Him.”

1John 2:28 NIV 28 And now, dear children, continue in Him, so that when he appears we may be confident and unashamed before him at His coming.

1 Thessalonians 4:16,17 NIV16 For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first. 17 After that, we who are still alive and are left will be caught up together with them in the clouds to meet the Lord in the air. And so we will be with the Lord forever. And finally.. Revelation 3:3 NIV Remember, therefore, what you have received and heard; hold it fast, and repent. But if you do not wake up, I will come like a thief, and you will not know at what time I will come to you.

If you find yourself growing weary with the increase in worldwide craziness take heart and remember we already know how the story ends. God is not surprised nor stressed about any of this. He is still on His throne and continues to extend His love and mercy to everyone that cries out to Him. Our Messiah didn’t die in vain and offers an eternal peace and joy for any that call on His name!!

Riot Police Surrounding Demonstration

“Signs of the times are everywhere, there’s a brand new feeling in the air. Keep your eye upon the Eastern sky. Lift up your hands, redemption draweth nigh.” From the song “Redemption Draweth Nigh” by Gordon Jensen

It’s time to put aside spiritual laziness

As Christians we need to daily be refilled with God’s wisdom. We can make poor decisions that may have disastrous effects by making decisions based on  feelings alone. When we operate without God’s wisdom we often lack good long term judgement. Perhaps the reason so many Christians are fumbling from one bad situation to the next is because they don’t feed themselves daily on the word.  Instead, they run from one person to the next asking for help and guidance.  I am sure we have all done this at one time or another but it is a really foolish way to go through our walk.

God will not give us a pass for laziness when it comes to falling into sin or our love waxing cold. We are to be diligently seeking Him and to do so requires we get into the Bible regularly. Anything less is asking for trouble.  Some would rather have a t.v. preacher pray for their problems instead of getting on their face before God and seeking answers from the only one who can truly bring about the BEST result. We have an obligation to keep our hearts and thoughts right before Him and the only way to do this is through studying His word and praying.

There are Pastors worldwide overwrought with burdens from their parishioners who should be seeking God for their answers and not running to their Pastor every time they have an issue.  This isn’t to say we shouldn’t go to our Pastors when we need advice, prayer or counselling.  That is why God has anointed some for leadership but we are NOT to be running to them or anyone else because instead of seeking God ourselves we have chosen to be lazy and want someone else to get on their knees before God and seek His wisdom on their behalf!

Unless we are a new believer, we need to put away the milk and start eating the solid food of God’s word for ourselves. We need to be daily spending time with the “lover of our soul” and not always asking someone else to do it on our behalf.  We need to grow up!  It is each of our own responsibility to keep our walk with God right. No one else can do this for us. Then, as we come together collectively as a body, we are able  to worship and pray in power and might. Each one contributing out of what God has given them.

There will always be situations where we need the intercession of others. It is a blessing and privilege as a Christian to have each other to turn to when in need.  However, this shouldn’t be our daily routine.  Let’s put away spiritual laziness and wake up to our own spiritual responsibility.  When we do so, we are a mighty collective force!

1John 2:27 NIV 27 As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit—just as it has taught you, remain in him.

Psalm 119:18 NIV 18 Open my eyes that I may see wonderful things in your law.

2 Timothy 3:14-17 NIV 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures,which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.

Joshua 1:8 NIV This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.

Psalm 119:105 NIV 105 Your word is a lamp for my feet, a light on my path.

And finally…. 2Timothy2:15 NIV 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

Commit yourself to spending time studying and in prayer daily and watch how God will give you the wisdom you need to walk your journey of faith and be a blessing to others!

James 1:5 NIV 5 If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you.

Spiritual Drought?

We are currently experiencing very dry conditions in our community. Lawns that usually are green and beautiful are currently looking very burnt and barren! Though we have had wonderful hot temperatures, which most of us Canadians are glad to experience in our short Summer season, there has been very little rain. It really doesn’t take long before that lack of rain shows itself in our gardens, lawns and our wells for those of us that live  in the country. It is rather amazing just  how short a time need pass before the lack of rain shows itself in our surroundings.

As believers, we too can experience dry barren times. The source of the trouble is often the same. We lack water. The water being the word of God. Without going to the Bible daily for refreshment and growth we begin to dry up. We too need daily watering to keep ourselves strong in body, mind and spirit. It is through reading our Bibles that we grow up spiritually. We begin to see things as God sees them. We are beautifully transformed by the word.

Ephesians 5:25-27 NIV “Just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her 26 to make her holy, cleansing her by the washing with water through the word27 and to present her to himself as a radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless.

If you are finding yourself spiritually parched it’s time you drank from the well of the word. Get yourself into a daily habit of spending time reading your Bible without interruption. It’s vital for us Christians if we want to walk in the way God has called us to walk. We can’t make a difference in our homes, our towns or our world if we are dry and barren and have nothing to give.  In North America where  we still enjoy religious freedom we have NO excuse but laziness for not picking up our Bibles and being refreshed. Make it part of your daily routine and you will reap the awesome benefits and so will those around you!

Isaiah 40:8 NIV The grass withers and the flowers fall,  but the word of our God endures forever. ”

Feeling dry?                                                                                                                                                         It’s time to soak in God’s word.

English: Dry earth in the Sonora desert, Mexic...

English: Dry earth in the Sonora desert, Mexico. Español: Tierra seca en el Desierto de Sonora, México. Français : Terre asséchée du Désert de Sonora, au Mexique. Deutsch: Trockenrisse in der Sonora-Wüste, Mexico. 日本語: 乾いた大地、メキシコのソノラ砂漠にて。 Nederlands: Uitgedroogde bodem in de Mexicaanse Sonorawoestijn Polski: Wysuszona ziemia na pustyni Sonora w Meksyku. Português: Terra seca no deserto de Sonora, México. Русский: Высушенная земля в пустыне Сонора, Мексика. 中文: 墨西哥索诺兰沙漠干枯的土地。 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

From the Heart to the Mouth

How many times during the day do we speak without really thinking first? Sometimes the conversation is quite innocent. What do you think about this weather? How’s your family? etc. etc.  No harm is done. It is just polite conversation that we use to engage with others.

Not all conversation is so innocent. We have all, at one time or another, gossiped or criticized others or repeated something we knew we shouldn’t, often without even thinking about what we were going to say before it slipped out! Our mouths are  capable of bringing encouragement and blessings to others or harm and destruction.  Wars have been started over words and wars have been ended by words. Our mouths have a lot of power behind them!  It’s been my prayer that God would daily remind me to use my words more carefully. To stop and weigh my words before spitting them out.

There is so much negativity around us. I like to follow the news but seldom is there anything edifying or uplifting to be found. It is usually full of wars, disasters, abuse and crime. Good news is hard to come by! The world is full of individuals that focus on the negative in their lives.  We all know people like this. They are the walking wounded that seldom have anything positive to say about their own lives or anyone elses. I’m not referring to people that are going through a difficult period and need encouragement here. We all need this from time to time but there are those who through their own confession have NOTHING good to say about anything or anyone. They are trapped in a cycle of voicing their woes and then experiencing exactly what they voice.

The Bible tells us that, But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them.” Matthew 15:18 NIV   What we say out loud is just an example of what is going on in our hearts.  If you find yourself being critical or negative on a regular basis it’s time to do some self examining.  Our negative words can be an overflow of bitterness or unforgiveness from inside us. If so, it’s time to get on our knees and confess it before God and ask for God’s forgiveness and also by an act of our will we need to forgive others we may be holding a grudge against. If we don’t deal with whatever is causing our negativity we will go around causing unnecessary hurt and damage to others by our words.

Just as we have the potential to cause pain to others with our words, we also have the ability to bring love, blessings and encouragement into their lives.  I know when I have gone through really difficult days and someone has called with a word of encouragement it’s been so uplifting.  Believers need to take serious God’s word and the importance it places on the power of our spoken words.

Proverbs 18:21 NIV 21 The tongue has the power of life and death.

Proverbs 13:3 NIV Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, 
    but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.

Ephesians 4:29 NIV 29 Do not let any unwholesome talk come out of your mouths, but only what is helpful for building others up according to their needs, that it may benefit those who listen.

Proverbs 16:24 NIV 24 Gracious words are a honeycomb,  sweet to the soul and healing to the bones.

Colossians 3:8 NIV But now you must also rid yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy language from your lips.

Matthew 12:37 NIV 37 For by your words you will be acquitted, and by your words you will be condemned.”

Start fresh…ask God to help you guard your tongue and think before speaking. There are many people out there needing a kind word.

Words

Words (Photo credit: sirwiseowl)

The Price of Entitlement

Sadly, we live in a world where a great many are growing up with an overblown sense of entitlement. Many adult children have rejected the idea that their parents raised them and that as adults they should now support themselves and stand on their own two feet. Instead they believe their parents should still be funding their lifestyle and bailing them out of any mess they should get themselves into. They spend little or no time with their parents just enjoying their company and when these parents get  a call from them they know that it comes with a request or demand! These kids shun responsibility and instead expect others to foot the bill for their needs and greeds. Though it would have been much easier to deal with this type of behavior when their children were young, it’s never too late to turn the tide and put their foot down. The longer a parent enables this type of behavior the longer the enabled will continue  to drain them of emotional and financial resources.

Though most of us parents really enjoy helping out our adult children out of love, we should never feel that continuing to do so, while the adult child is not contributing, is a loving thing to do. Our ultimate goal as parents is to raise children to become functioning, self supporting adults that will eventually contribute positively to society. Blessings and support we give to our adult children should be out of our free will and not out of a guilt ridden sense of duty. When we see them working hard and taking care of themselves and their loved ones we often want to do what we can to support that. If we ,as parents, are able to give of our time, our resources or financially and we see them actively working towards this on their own than it is a pleasure to offer our support! However, if we see them living a selfish, irresponsible lifestyle it would be foolhardy to enable that lifestyle to continue. There comes a time for everyone to finally grow up!

In our walk with God we too can become like that adult child who looks to our Heavenly Father  to intervene and bail us out of messes we have gotten ourselves into by our selfishness and irresponsibility. Some look to God like  Santa Claus. They spend little or no time in His word or in prayer with Him yet cry out to Him with a list of demands and expect Him to meet them without any of the responsibility of obedience to Him or His word.

As believers, we are able  to come before our Father and make our requests known.  Not on our own merit but thankfully by the price Christ paid for us on the cross. Through our belief in Him and what He has done for us, we are given a special entitlement to the throne of God. However, we are not to behave as though that price came cheap!  The Bible has much to say about our part in maintaining an unstrained relationship with our Father. That part involves our coming to Him through Jesus our Savior and walking in obedience to His word. If we are His children and understand the price He paid for our salvation and freedom we should want to walk in the way He has called us to walk. A way that keeps us in close fellowship with Him. A way that keeps our heart right before Him so that when we do come to God with our requests these requests are  not rooted in selfishness alone. He loves His kids and promises to hear our cries. He also requires that for our relationship with Him to be maintained we hold up our end of the relationship. He would not be the wonderful Heavenly Father He is  if He did all the giving and required nothing of us in return. It would  be no different than the parent who raised their children to believe the world revolved around them and that they could make demands of everyone and yet nothing would ever be required of them. In other words a bunch of brats!

The Bible offers wonderful verses for us to hide in our hearts! Verses that remind us of our responsibilities as a child of God.

James 2:17 NIV 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.

1 John 2:3-6 NIVWe know that we have come to know him if we keep his commands. Whoever says, “I know him,”but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in that person. But if anyone obeys his word, love for God is truly made complete in them. This is how we know we are in him:Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did.

James 2:26 NIV 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

John 15:14 NIV 14 You are my friends if you do what I command.

Luke 11:28 NIV 28 He replied, “Blessed rather are those who hear the word of God and obey it.”

John 15: 9-17 NIV “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.

Acts 5: 29-32 NIV 29 Peter and the other apostles replied: “We must obey God rather than human beings! 30 The God of our ancestors raised Jesus from the dead —whom you killed by hanging him on a cross. 31 God exalted him to his own right hand as Prince and Savior that he might bring Israel to repentance and forgive their sins. 32 We are witnesses of these things, and so is the Holy Spirit, whom God has given to those who obey him.”

And finally Psalm 119: 1-8 NIV sums up the way to walk…  Blessed are those whose ways are blameless, who walk according to the law of the Lord. Blessed are those who keep his statutes and seek Him with all their heart—they do no wrong  but follow his ways. 
You have laid down precepts  that are to be fully obeyed. Oh, that my ways were steadfast in obeying your decrees! 
Then I would not be put to shame when I consider all your commands. I will praise you with an upright heart as I learn your righteous laws. I will obey your decrees; do not utterly forsake me.

Those of us who have accepted Christ as our Savior are by grace entitled to come boldly before His throne. This is an awesome fact but let’s not neglect to spend time with the one who offered us this grace! Let’s keep our hearts right before Him by spending time in His word. Though God knows we will mess up from time to time and loves us anyway, let’s not take our entitlement for granted. Let’s walk as He’s called us to walk!

Romans 12:10 NIV 10 Be devoted to one another in love. Honor one another above yourselves.

What are you feeding on?

We live in a culture where we are constantly being educated about how to take care of our bodies.  TV offers multiple shows with advise on what to eat, what not to eat, when to eat, when not to eat etc. We probably have more information today on what foods are best to fight colds and cancer and what foods to avoid to prevent obesity. Having said all that, many continue to eat at the wrong times, eat the wrong foods and struggle with the consequences that follow. Diabetes is on the increase, obesity is a problem that plagues North Americans and children are being diagnosed much more frequently with things such as ADD, ADHD etc. Unless we live in a remote location without access to outside media we have all the information we need to change our eating habits yet many of us continue to choose to consume things that may eventually negatively affect our health.

In our walk with Christ we see the same thing. God has given us all the instructions we need to keep our hearts right with him.  The Bible is full of instructions on how we can avoid spiritual traps. The information is readily available to us but unless we are reading the Bible daily and actively applying it to our lives we remain stagnant in our faith. This spiritually cripples us as we are not living the life God has created us to live. We tend to fall into areas of sin that we know we should be avoiding such as gossip, selfishness etc.

Just as the information is readily available on how to care for our bodies by what we put into them, the information is readily available on how to care for our hearts by what we put into our minds. God will not supernaturally inject all this wisdom into our heads! We have to read it and by his grace, apply it in our lives.  Christ came to give us an abundant life. A life that He can use to reach out to others.  If we ourselves are stumbling along in laziness by neglecting to read His word we will never accomplish what He has planned for us. Some one out there needs our help and we need to shrug off idleness and get into His word and align our lives to live according to His word.

Here are but a few scriptures emphasizing the importance of  what we put into our minds that will affect our hearts.

2Timothy 2:15 NIV 15 Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth.

Phillipians 4:8 NIV Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable—if anything is excellent or praiseworthy—think about such things.

Romans 12:2 NIV Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is —his good, pleasing and perfect will.

2 Corinthians 10:4,5 NIV The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.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.

This verse is  one of my favourites. After spending years not reading the Bible as often as I should, this verse written by David means so much to me now, Psalm 119:11 NIV 11 I have hidden your word in my heart that I might not sin against you.

All of these verses emphasize the importance of God’s word in our lives. Without delving into His word we are not able to renew our minds. It is by His word that the renewal comes.

The next time you feel like sitting in front of the tv and snacking on something you probably shouldn’t be eating anyway, pick up your Bible and feast on God’s word.  It alone will bring about permanent positive change and won’t even pack on a single pound! 🙂

Cover for a NIV Bible

Cover for a NIV Bible (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

No Battle, No Gain

It should come as no surprise to those of us who follow Christ that we will be presented with daily challenges.  These challenges can come in many forms.  There are life circumstances that we may face that are beyond our control, people we may encounter, health concerns etc.  If we were born on this Earth we WILL face battles in one form or another and at times from various forms at once!  Though they are never enjoyed, they are to be expected from time to time.

Without the battle there will be no growth.  That’s just the way it is.  Just as exercise increases our physical muscles, trials increase our spiritual muscles.  The key is in remaining obedient even when we would like to do anything but…  The victory is always sweet when we do so. Some battles are for a day, some for years and some still for decades but there is always something to be gained by each and every one.

Ephes 6:12 (KJV) 12 For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.

If Jesus promised we would experience trials, we can be sure we will but  remember and claim, John 16:33 (KJV)
33 These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.

Though our trials often  roll in like a storm cloud we are to take them to Jesus and stand firmlyon His word.  He will never disappoint!    2 Corin 10:4 (KJV) 4For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds.