Tag Archive | Christ

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)

In EVERYTHING give thanks

When trials and challenges come into our lives, we believers in Christ are often found complaining as if we are surprised that unpleasant things could be happening to us. I’m not referring to things that have come about as a direct result of sinful behavior or purposeful disregard. I’m referring to things that are often beyond our control. An example would be miscarrying or losing a child.  A cancer diagnosis etc.  Things that we ourselves have not brought about for the most part and have little to no control over.

Our first line of defence should be to go to God and seek His help. We also should get our church body to pray. Sometimes God chooses to perform a miracle and bring about perfect supernatural healing.  Most of us have known someone or of someone who has experienced this. Other times God allows us to go through the trial without supernatural healing or visual intervention. He is working no less on our behalf than if He had performed a physical miracle.

He knows our heart and knows the best way for us to grow. So than, should we have to walk through our trial or wait on our answer and not receive an instantaneous response with what attitude should we walk through it? .We can grumble and complain like others that don’t have the confidence of their Heavenly Father looking out for them, or we can do what the word of God tells us to do.  Put our trust in the one who created us and give thanks! Nowhere in the word does it say to give thanks in the good times and gripe in the difficult times. We are given very specific instructions that we need to be reminded of frequently…

Colossians 3:15 NIV15 Let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, since as members of one body you were called to peace. And be THANKFUL.

Can God’s word be any plainer than this?.. Phillipians 4:6 NIVDo not be anxious about ANYTHING, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, WITH THANKSGIVING, present your requests to God.

Colossians 4:2 NIV Devote yourselves to prayer, being watchful and THANKFUL.

Psalm 106:1 NIV Praise the Lord. Give THANKS to the Lord, for He is good; His love endures forever.

1Chronicles 23:30 NIV 30 They were also to stand every morning to THANK AND PRAISE the Lord. They were to do the same in the evening.

Psalm 35:18 NIV 18 I will give you THANKS in the great assembly; among the throngs I will praise you.

And why should we always have an attitude of thankfulness and not grumble?   Because as Psalm 9;9,10 says, NIV The Lord is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. 10 Those who know your name TRUST IN YOU, for you, Lord,  HAVE NEVER FORSAKEN THOSE WHO SEEK YOU.

Grumbling and complaining never accomplishes anything helpful, in fact it may hinder our answer from God. It certainly hindered the Israelites when they were walking in the desert! (Exodus 16)  Before you open your mouth to complain, remember we have a Savior that was willing to lay down His life for us and provide a way for our salvation. We have MUCH to be thankful for! Not only did He die for us but He walks with us daily.  If you are walking in God’s will and He has permitted challenges in your life you can be sure He will see you through them.  In EVERYTHING give thanks!

Psalm 113:3 NIV 3 From the rising of the sun to the place where it sets,
the name of the Lord is to be praised.

If you belong to Him remember…

Some of us have short memories.  Mine certainly has been getting shorter the last few years! 🙂 Maybe it was turning 50, maybe not but  there are times when I wish my memory was better.  I often head downstairs to get something and find myself standing there looking around and wondering what on earth I came down there for….I have found it necessary to make lists or use my blackberry calendar more often these days if I want to be sure I don’t forget something important. I’ve read several articles over the last few years and apparently memory loss can begin as young as 20 years.  I am referring to mild memory loss, not the dementia type.  I also have read that the more children a woman has carried, the more memory loss she will suffer. Something about hormones and I don’t really understand all the details.  I will claim both, I carried four babies and I am now over 50 so I have an excuse or so I will claim anyway!

There are some things I do not ever want to forget! Here are just a few of the awesome promises in the book of Romans that God has given to us that He intends for us to cling to and claim! They are worth hiding in our heart!

 Romans 8:28 NIV 28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.     

What a beautiful promise this is! “That in ALL THINGS God works for the good of those who love Him, who have been called according to His purpose.”  If you are a believer and have accepted Christ you have been called according to His purpose!  This means WHATEVER comes into your life God will work out for your good!  This offers a huge amount of comfort to us!  If we are believers and our serving him, nothing can touch us that He hasn’t allowed or that He will not work out for our good.

And secondly, Romans 8:38,39 NIV 38 For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers,39 neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.

We have been bought with a price!  A price that is so precious that absolutely nothing can separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus! If we walk in faith we don’t have to live in fear of losing that relationship.  God has saved us and intends fully to keep us in His family!  His Son paid too high a price to let us go!

Next time you find yourself forgetting something, remind yourself of these two verses.  When we apply them daily our lives will be transformed!

Forget Me Nots

Importance of Fellowship

There are so many things that keep us busy these days.   Jobs, family, volunteering and too many other things to list.  It doesn’t take too long before we can get bogged down with responsibilities. To keep on the right track and to keep joy in our lives we need to have a good prayer life and time spent in the word. These are two basics that keep our spiritual feet firmly on the ground. Along with these two things we also need fellowship. God didn’t create us to be islands. We need one another. We need the support of prayer and conversation from other believers. In the New Testament church, the apostles worked along side one another and encouraged each other as the need arose. This need hasn’t diminished but because many of us work outside the church the need is vital to have the support of believers to keep us walking right.

This past weekend we held our church picnic at our home and it was great to spend time having fun with our brothers and sisters in Christ. There was no drama, no discord just a group of people that love God having a blast with one another. When we get to know each other better we are better equipped to pray and help one another.  We live in a world where many live and look out for themselves. In the church we need to be sure we don’t allow that to become our lifestyle.  God has called us all to serve.  If we get too bogged down we are not fit to help anyone. Having fellowship is vital. Whether it be a picnic, a potluck or a prayer meeting, we need one another.  It can help recharge our spiritual batteries and remind us we are not lone wolves but we are a body, a body that serves and encourages one another and that reaches out and serves our families, our communities and our world.

1Peter 4:9 NIV  9Offer hospitality to one another without grumbling.

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

Galatians 5:13 NIV 1313 You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love.

Make time for fellowship.

Rise up and do something!

We live in a dog eat dog world. Many believe that in order to get ahead we have to climb our way to the top. Bashing others is common place if it means making ourselves look superior. The squeaky wheel is often the one that gets the attention therefore being loud and boisterous gets results. Reality tv shows abound with self absorbed, selfish people that brag about their dysfunctional lives and demand others give them the attention they feel they are due. It’s pretty crazy out there!

God did not create us to be legends in our own minds!  He created us to love and serve Him and to love and serve others.  Philip2:4ESV Let each of you look not only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others.  We don’t have to look far to see needs all around us. Though we can’t fill every need or help everyone out there, we certainly can start in our own backyards.

Some of us have family, friends, acquaintances or co workers  that need our prayers. Intercession is something all of us can do and it is at the heart of bringing about change and help to others. It is helping in a way that man cannot help by calling on God and opening  the door for Him to begin to work. Perhaps if we do this first, rather than as a last resort when man’s ways fail we will begin to see positive changes and answers far quicker. Galatians 6:2 ESV Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.

There are  many local charities that are already doing a great work helping others. Perhaps we can volunteer our time or our resources to help them out. For example, the Salvation Army has locations in most communities and they sure help others in very tangible ways. They provide food, clothing and other resources that many wouldn’t have without their help. Prov.19:17 ESV Whoever is generous to the poor lends to the Lord, and he will repay him for his deed.

Perhaps if we have an ailing neighbour we could volunteer to make a meal or meals, cut their grass or help out with any other chore they may need assistance with. Babysitting is another way of helping out. In this tough economy many people have had to relocate from their hometowns to find work and therefore don’t have family around to help out when they really need a sitter.                          Luke 10:27 ESV And Jesus answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

Sometimes something as simple as opening a door for someone with a disability or with their arms full can make their day a little lighter.  A kind word can go a long way when someone if visibly upset.  There is no limit to ways we can reach out.  The only thing limiting us is often laziness.  James 2:13 ESV For judgment is without mercy to one who has shown no mercy. Mercy triumphs over judgment.

I am committed to spending less time on the couch and more time praying and doing.  Time is short and there are many things that need to be done before Jesus returns. It’s time to rise up and do something!

Hebrews 13:16ESV Do not neglect to do good and to share what you have, for such sacrifices are pleasing to God.

Learning to help early in life. 🙂

We choose how we go through trials!

Recently there has been a flood of friends and family facing trials. Some are health concerns, some financial and others in relationship conflicts.  There is no way of going through this life journey without coming up against one if not more of these. Christians are not exempt of difficulties and trials.  Some of us in our early years in faith believed we would be protected by a spiritual bubble that would prevent difficult, hurtful things from knocking at our door.  This belief wasn’t based on anything scriptural but a naive belief that because we chose to serve God He would not allow anything “bad” to happen to us. Early death, sickness, financial hardships and all the other struggles out there would somehow pass us by. If we believed enough, these things would move on down the road and away from our doors.

This naive belief is based on our own lack of knowing God’s word and the words of Jesus to His followers.  God never promised that life would be sunshine and rainbows every day.  He never promised we would not struggle through difficulties.  He never promised we would not lose a loved one long before we thought it was their time to go. In fact Jesus warned us in John 16:33 NIV “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” 

I personally have had to deal with some great losses in my life.  When we lost our son Daniel, at age 20 in a car accident I grieved daily for about 3 years before I could really accept he was gone.  Though he came to Christ as a young child and I knew I would see him again, I missed his smile, his crazy humour, his lovely face and his presence in the family! I still have days where I feel such deep grief over the fact that he won’t ever get to have a family, raise children and live out some of his dreams.  I did however, have to get to a place where I trusted that God had his reasons for taking him home. He may never reveal them to me but even that is now okay. He knows so much more than I can ever know about the future.  We can choose to grow bitter and angry and decide that because things didn’t go the way we expected them to go we will no longer walk with the Lord.  There are many people out there walking down that dark road.  Choosing that road will just lead to more discontent and bitterness.

When dark days come most of us will have a time where we pull inside ourselves, wallow in sadness and grief for a time but then comes the time for us to look to God.

Psalm40:1-3 NIV 1 I waited patiently for the Lord;he turned to me and heard my cry.2 He lifted me out of the slimy pit,out of the mud and mire;he set my feet on a rock and gave me a firm place to stand.3 He put a new song in my mouth,a hymn of praise to our God. Many will see and fear the Lord and put their trust in him.

I believe in counselling and it did help me a great deal to talk to a counselor while I was working through my grief after the loss of our son, but even the best counselor cannot bring about the heart deep healing that only Jesus can.  As we choose life, choose to move forward and allow God to heal those deep wounds we move out of our deep grief and into a place of acceptance and peace.  Throughout our journey trials will continue to come and with every trial we have the choice of how we will walk through it. We can look to God knowing the truth of Romans 8:28 NIV 28 “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose,”  or we can remain wallowing in our grief and bitterness.  I choose life!

I choose life!

Standing on God’s Promises

Most of us have been disappointed from time to time with people.  Sometimes  people will say one thing and do another. Perhaps someone has promised to do something for us or keep a confidence and they did not live up to their word.  I think everyone has gone through this experience at one time or another. I know I have. It leaves us feeling disappointed and at times discouraged with people in general. We like to be able to count on others and when they let us down we have to deal the consequences.

Thankfully, we have one who will never act against His promises.  God has promised so many things to His children in His word and we can take Him at His promises and hold Him to them. Unlike man, He doesn’t lie or change.  Heb.13:8 NIV Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.

As His kids, we are so fortunate that there is so much available to us as we walk in His ways and in communion with Him. I want to mention just a few of the many promises we can stand on.  There are too many to list them all here but they can be found in our Bibles. Here are three that are life changing as we take Him at His word.

1John2:1,2 My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have an advocate with the Father—Jesus Christ, the Righteous One. He is the atoning sacrifice for our sins,and not only for ours but also for the sins of the whole world.

There is guaranteed forgiveness for our sins for anyone who asks through Jesus Christ.  The verse doesn’t say maybe, or only for certain sins, or to those people who are nice!  It says “If ANYBODY does sin, we have an advocate (one who argues for a cause, supporter or defender, one that pleads on another’s behalf; an intercessor) with the Father-JESUS CHRIST, the righteous One.

Luke 11:13 NIV 13 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 the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!”

Anyone who is a believer and is walking on this planet must realize how much we need the Holy Spirit. Without God’s Spirit we would not even be able to come to the Lord in the first place.  Without God’s Spirit equipping us we would not be able to carry out the work God has for us to accomplish here.  There would be no heart cry for the Saviour, no healing, no deliverance, no transformation in our hearts etc.. and all we need to do is ask!

Deut. 31:8 The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; He will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

 WOW!  Those are powerful words. Who else can we count on to NEVER leave us nor FORSAKE us? He is with us every moment of every day. We can bank on that.  No matter what the circumstance, what the trial or what the experience He is walking through it with us.

By soaking in, applying and standing on the absolute truth of the above three verses alone, our walk with God will grow more intimate and our love and forgiveness towards others will increase.

Malachi 1:11 NIV”For from the rising of the sun even to its setting, My name will be great among the nations, and in every place incense is going to be offered to My name, and a grain offering that is pure; for My name will be great among the nations,” says the LORD of hosts.


Time for pulling spiritual weeds

I love to garden.  It is one of those things I do that I find very relaxing.  It is naturally more fun to plant, water and enjoy the fruits of my labour but there are times when the work of maintaining is much more difficult.  God reminded me this weekend how much my life is like that of my garden. If I want to enjoy the blessings of beautiful flowers or vegetables and fruits I have to get rid of all the weeds of sin.

When I came to Christ at a young age I tried to live a life that was in obedience.  I was very regimented and lived too much under the law and missed out on the true message of grace. I still felt I had to earn my salvation way deep down in the depths of my heart. Over time it became a huge struggle because the one thing that was really missing was the joy that God gives when we learn to rest in Him and in what Christ really did for us.  I was constantly trying to stay in God’s good graces, not realizing it is impossible to do so by my own efforts.  Eventually I burnt out somewhat and gave in to compromising as I didn’t feel I could keep up with all the demands I thought God was putting on me.  It was really demands that I put on myself trying to earn a feeling of belonging… Sadly I wasted a lot of years doing this.

This lead to compromised living.  Never turning away from God but also NOT living in obedience.. I began to think, what was the point when I could never really measure up? During those years I allowed a lot of weeds back into my garden.  Bad habits, bad attitudes, bad behaviours and selfishness. Over the last several months God has been showing me the various weeds I need to pull up! There are plenty and I am so grateful that He is a God of mercy and didn’t and won’t give up on me.

Psalm 103:8 NIV The Lord is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love.

 I am so glad He is compassionate, gracious, slow to anger and abounding in love!  He longs for us to be in intimate fellowship with Him and though He loves us enough to accept us just as we are when we cry out to Him,  He also loves us enough to not leave us there!!  I can’t get back wasted years but I can be sure from this day on to serve Him out of love and not duty.  To accept His mercy and grace and not walk in condemnation.

2 Peter 3:9 NIVThe 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.

So as I tend to my garden I am sure God will continually show me weeds that I need to uproot. It is not my favourite thing to do but it is necessary if I want to walk closer to Him.  Some weeds look like proper plants and it takes discernment from God to see that they actually are weeds. I know I have done or said things that at the time seemed harmless but in my quiet time with God, He has shown me that my heart was not right in doing or saying what I did and that I need to bring it before Him.  Some weeds look innocuous yet they have roots that go deep down into the soil of our hearts and if left, will strangle out the good surrounding plants. These spiritual weeds act like poison in our hearts and cause us to grow cold towards others or God if left unattended. I find that as God reveals these weeds in my life and as I begin to lay them at His feet and ask for change He is faithful and giving me the grace to change.  Not in my own strength but through the Spirit He humbles and strengthens me in His love.

As Christians, we never arrive until we meet face to face with Jesus.  Ours is a journey of growth. We will make mistakes, we will stumble, we will obtain war wounds but thankfully we have a Father that loves us and will help us get back on track as we seek Him. We have a Savior that died on our behalf so that we would have legal rights to come before God.  Not in our own merit but because of the price He paid.

John 3:16,17 NIV For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. 17 For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him.

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.