Tag Archive | Christianity

Are you hiding from the Light?

Jeremiah 23:24 NIV "Who can hide in secret places so that  I cannot see ?" declares the Lord. "Do not I fill heaven and earth?" declares the Lord.

Jeremiah 23:24 NIV “Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?” declares the Lord. “Do not I fill heaven and earth?” declares the Lord.

I am thankful to God for His patience with me.  I am so grateful that He is slow to anger and kind. That He longs for fellowship with each and every one of us.  I can remember at one time believing that whenever I screwed up in my walk with Christ, God would be angry with me, so I would find myself avoiding Him for a while. I would steer clear of  the intimacy of prayer as it would require my having to come clean and fess up.

Before too long however,  I would miss our fellowship. I would toss up the odd prayer but with no real expectancy due to the fact I knew there were things between us putting up a barrier from intimacy. Eventually I would cave and come before Him with a heart of repentance and fess up. The peace and freedom that would follow was amazing. I’m not sure why I ever thought things would get better on their own!

I am thankful that I no longer try and hide anything from Him. He sees all, knows all and it is a complete and utter waste of time allowing any sin to remain between us.  When I screw up now, I don’t waste the time  I used to fessing up. It keeps the lines of communication open with the lover of my soul. It allows for instant access and freedom in making my requests known when I come to Him with a need for others or for myself.  If you have drifted from intimacy in your prayer life, perhaps it’s time you tear down the  barriers.

If  you have sin in your life you have been holding onto, hoping neither God nor anyone else will see it,  it’s time to get rid of it!  Don’t waste another day without intimacy with the King of  Kings.

The Word of God says in 1John 1:9 NIV If we confess our sins He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and will cleanse us of ALL unrighteousness.

Let His light shine  into all the dark areas of your life. Don’t allow anything to keep you from coming boldly to the throne!

John 3:19-21 NIV 19 This is the verdict: Light has come into the world, but people loved darkness instead of light because their deeds were evil. 20 Everyone who does evil hates the light, and will not come into the light for fear that their deeds will be exposed. 21 But whoever lives by the truth comes into the light,  so that it may be seen plainly that what they have done has been done in the sight of God.

Let’s NOT become weary

Often when we come to God with a prayer request we would like to receive our answer immediately. This does happen but I have found in my life that often the answers do not always come right away. God, at times, allows us to go through a time of growth or stretching before we receive our heart’s desire. This period of waiting also weeds out those who are looking to our Heavenly Father as a Santa Claus type provider instead of “He who rules over the nations.” Psalm 22:28.

He is the lover of our soul and ultimately knows what is best for us. He also knows when and if He will  answer our prayers with a yes, a no or perhaps a not now. I have received all three at various times in my walk. I can’t say that I always appreciate waiting on my answer but I can say that I trust the ONE who answers to know what is best for me and mine.  I am always so pleased when I receive an immediate answer but I am learning to be content when I don’t. It is quite simply a matter of trusting the ONE who truly knows me and everything about me. As we read in Psalm 139:1-4 NIV You have searched me, Lord,and you know me.You know when I sit and when I rise; you perceive my thoughts from afar.You discern my going out and my lying down; you are familiar with all my ways.Before a word is on my tongue you, Lord, know it completely.

So for those times that we have to wait on God for our answer, just how should we spend our time waiting? Galatians 6:9 NIV  tells us, Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.

As you wait on God to answer the cry of your heart, spend your time wisely. Seek His face, read His word and continue to do all He has shown you to do up until this time. Don’t waste time demanding your way but serve God and fulfill the ministry He has provided for you whether that be with your family, your church or your community and remember, “For at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we DO NOT give up.”

Prayer DOES change things!

I was thrilled this weekend to hear that Pastor Youcef Nardarkhani was released from an Iranian prison after three years of imprisonment.  Pastor Nardarkhani had been  charged with apostasy and was given a death sentence for being a Christian in Iran and for refusing to recant his faith in Christ. I and thousands of other Christians, worldwide had been praying for his release. Thanks to the International Christian Concern organization, his plight was made known to tens of thousands of believers. Through facebook and Twitter his name was kept in the public eye.  The pressure they kept up and their monthly reminders for prayer had many of us interceding on his behalf.  I have no doubt whatsoever that God heard our prayers and answered!  Not all of our brothers and sisters in Christ will be released from their plights as it’s not always God’s will. Obviously God has a bigger purpose for Pastor Nardarkhani being a free man.  I do believe, however, that the fervent prayers of righteous men and women helped to accomplish this!

God calls each of us to intercede on behalf of our brothers and sisters. Our prayers can make all the difference in the world. When I was reading my devotions last night, I was reminded again of the beautiful power in collective prayer. It is found in  Acts 12:1-11 NIV 12 It was about this time that King Herod arrested some who belonged to the church, intending to persecute them. He had James, the brother of John, put to death with the sword. When he saw that this met with approval among the Jews, he proceeded to seize Peter also. This happened during the Festival of Unleavened Bread. After arresting him, he put him in prison, handing him over to be guarded by four squads of four soldiers each. Herod intended to bring him out for public trial after the Passover.So Peter was kept in prison, but the church was earnestly praying to God for him.The night before Herod was to bring him to trial, Peter was sleeping between two soldiers, bound with two chains, and sentries stood guard at the entrance. Suddenly an angel of the Lord appeared and a light shone in the cell. He struck Peter on the side and woke him up. “Quick, get up!” he said, and the chains fell off Peter’s wrists.Then the angel said to him, “Put on your clothes and sandals.” And Peter did so. “Wrap your cloak around you and follow me,” the angel told him. Peter followed him out of the prison, but he had no idea that what the angel was doing was really happening; he thought he was seeing a vision. 10 They passed the first and second guards and came to the iron gate leading to the city. It opened for them by itself, and they went through it. When they had walked the length of one street, suddenly the angel left him.11 Then Peter came to himself and said, “Now I know without a doubt that the Lord has sent his angel and rescued me from Herod’s clutches and from everything the Jewish people were hoping would happen.”

Wow, what an answer to the cries of the church! Similarly, the odds of Pastor Nardarkhani being released from an Iranian prison were very slim. It was the obedient response of the church to pray unceasingly on his behalf that brought about his release.  I am sure Pastor Nardarkhani would agree!

When you have a need go to God in prayer and watch His hand move in amazing ways to bring it to pass.  Jesus promised that we would not only do things He did but that, through the power of the Holy Spirit, we would do even greater things.  John 14:12 NIV 12 Very truly I tell you, whoever believes in me will do the works I have been doing, and they will do even greater things than these, because I am going to the Father.

Through Christ, God has provided this amazing tool that allows us all to  boldly come before His throne with our requests. He hears the prayers of His kids. Collective prayer offers a special promise.. Matthew 18:19 NIV 19 “Again, truly I tell you that if two of you on earth agree about anything they ask for, it will be done for them by my Father in heaven. What an awesome promise from an awesome God!

Keep prayer as a mainstay in your life. Don’t allow anything to come between you and your intimacy with God. Pray for others. If you want the support of many, ask others to pray for you and or your situation. Too often we don’t see results in our lives because our prayer life is lacking.

Leonard Ravenhill was a true man of God. An Evangelist and author, he spent his life focusing on the importance of prayer and revival.  His words still ring true today,“No man is greater than his prayer life. The pastor who is not praying is playing, the people who are not praying are straying. We have many organizers but few agonizers; many players and payers, few pray-ers; many singers, few slingers;lots of pastors, few wrestlers;many fears, few tears;much fashion, little passion; many interferers, few intercessors;many writers but few fighters. Failing here, we fail everywhere.”

Prayer: James 5:16

Prayer: James 5:16

Faith and action go hand in hand

If we really believe Christ is who He says He is and that He willingly suffered great agony and  laid down His life for us to have salvation and  intimate fellowship with God than we need to act like it!  When we think about all that He has done for each of us we can’t ignore the fact He did this for each and every man, woman and child born. Knowing this we need to live our lives demonstrating the great love He has shown us to others. We need to wake up every morning and ask God what we can do this day to show His love and mercy to others. There are so many walking wounded looking for help in a world that can only offer temporary relief. You may be the only way they see Christ on any given day  and therefore it’s so important we live our lives of faith demonstrating that wonderful love. There are several Bible verses telling us of the importance of not keeping our faith to ourselves but actually living it out.

James 2:14-26 NIV 14 What good is it, my brothers and sisters, if someone claims to have faith but has no deeds? Can such faith save them? 15 Suppose a brother or a sister is without clothes and daily food. 16 If one of you says to them, “Go in peace; keep warm and well fed,” but does nothing about their physical needs, what good is it? 17 In the same way, faith by itself, if it is not accompanied by action, is dead.18 But someone will say, “You have faith; I have deeds.”Show me your faith without deeds, and I will show you my faith by my deeds. 19 You believe that there is one God. Good! Even the demons believe that —and shudder.20 You foolish person, do you want evidence that faith without deeds is useless? 21 Was not our father Abraham considered righteous for what he did when he offered his son Isaac on the altar?22 You see that his faith and his actions were working together, and his faith was made complete by what he did. 23 And the scripture was fulfilled that says, “Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness,”and he was called God’s friend. 24 You see that a person is considered righteous by what they do and not by faith alone.25 In the same way, was not even Rahab the prostitute considered righteous for what she did when she gave lodging to the spies and sent them off in a different direction? 26 As the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without deeds is dead.

Titus 3:8 NIV This is a trustworthy saying. And I want you to stress these things, so that those who have trusted in God may be careful to devote themselves to doing what is good. These things are excellent and profitable for everyone.

Hebrews 6:10 NIV 10 God is not unjust; he will not forget your work and the love you have shown him as you have helped his people and continue to help them.

It’s pretty safe to say that both faith and works go hand in hand. By faith in Christ we are redeemed and joined in the family but we are not to be selfish and keep it to ourselves. God desires that we reach out to others and love them as He loves them. We are to be obedient to the things He tells us to do. Sometimes that can be something as simple as helping someone on the roadside change a tire. Other times we have an chance to pray with someone needing a touch from God or for salvation.  The opportunities are endless!

Our first responsibility is to stay in close communion with Christ through prayer and reading the word.  Then out of that sweet relationship we are to carry out anything and everything God asks us to do. If we try to do works without a  relationship to Christ we  are than simply being religious and God despises religious behavior. For example Jesus Himself said in Mark 12:38-40 NIV 38 As he taught, Jesus said, “Watch out for the teachers of the law. They like to walk around in flowing robes and be greeted with respect in the marketplaces, 39 and have the most important seats in the synagogues and the places of honor at banquets. 40 They devour widows’ houses and for a show make lengthy prayers. These men will be punished most severely.”

When we do stay in close communion with Christ we can’t help but want to do for others. It flows naturally out of the love He has shed abroad in our hearts!  If you find yourself unmotivated to serve others or share your faith it’s time to do a heart check and see just how far you may have wandered from that sweet intimacy God offers. Spend the time it takes in prayer asking for God to reveal whatever it is that you have allowed to come between the two of you and once you have confessed it before Him ask Him what it is that you can do today to demonstrate  His love to others.

Hebrews 13:16 NIV 16 And do not forget to do good and to share with others, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.

Flat tire

Flat tire (Photo credit: Alicia Nijdam)

Peace is available during the storms

Yesterday my hubby and I visited a Doctor for a current health issue we are dealing with.  When I looked around in the waiting room I couldn’t help but feel sad for others there that may not have God in their lives, having to deal with a crisis without Him. Too many people struggle through situations without the peace that He promises and offers to us when we rely on Him.  It’s a peace that is supernatural.  In our natural minds, everything cries out to worry when we come across a situation in life that we don’t understand, didn’t expect or can’t resolve on our own. As believers, however, we can turn to God and ask for His wisdom in our decision making, and His peace and assurance to carry us through the ordeal.  He doesn’t DISAPPOINT!

If we find ourselves in such a situation, we only need to look to His word for our source of help. The Psalms alone, have so many awesome verses to claim during times of need..

Psalm 46:1,2 NIV God is our refuge and strength, an ever-present help in trouble.Therefore we will not fear, though the earth give way and the mountains fall into the heart of the sea.

Psalm 121:1,2,3 NIVI lift up my eyes to the mountains—where does my help come from? My help comes from the Lord, the Maker of heaven and earth. He will not let your foot slip— he who watches over you will not slumber. 

God cares not only for the sick in body but the sick in heart.. Psalm 34:18,19 NIV 18 The Lord is close to the brokenhearted 
and saves those who are crushed in spirit.

Psalm 107:13-15 NIV 113 Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.14 He brought them out of darkness, the utter darkness, and broke away their chains. 15 Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.

and finally Psalm 71:1-3 NIV sums it all up.. In you, Lord, I have taken refuge;  let me never be put to shame. In your righteousness, rescue me and deliver me; turn your ear to me and save me.Be my rock of refuge,to which I can ALWAYS GO; give the command to save me, for YOU ARE MY ROCK AND MY FORTRESS.

If you are a child of God through Christ,  it’s time to take Him at His word.  He will be there for you during your difficulty and see you through!  He promises and He cannot go back on His promises.  Numbers 23:19 NIV 19 God is not human, that he should lie, not a human being, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill?

Hebrews 6:17,18 NIV 17 Because God wanted to make the unchanging nature of his purpose very clear to the heirs of what was promised, He confirmed it with an oath. 18 God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope set before us may be greatly encouraged.

Wenceslas Hollar - The Psalms

Wenceslas Hollar – The Psalms (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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)

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