Tag Archive | New International Version

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.

Honoring your word

 We live in a world of glib promises and unkept vows. Somewhere in the last hundred years people have lost the importance of keeping their word and honoring their commitments. Sadly, we’ve all done it. We have made promises that we either chose not to or couldn’t keep for one reason or another. There is a cost of course that follows. Other’s learn not to depend on us. We disappoint people and oftentimes by our neglecting the commitment made, force someone else to carry our share of the load.

As followers of Christ, it is so important that we honor our word and our commitments. When we say we will do something we need to follow through and do it. When we commit to something or someone, we need to ensure that we don’t purposely disappoint others by not taking that commitment seriously. Our word should be much more than shallow conversation.

We serve a God that’s Word is infallible and one hundred percent reliable and His Word has much to say about how His children speak in truth and honor their commitments. If you commit to taking on a responsibility, do it. If you give your word, honor it. Otherwise, your word is a lie and lacks honor.   We’ve all been hurt by others and their lack of follow through. When you speak, be sure to consider your words carefully and not dishonor your testimony as a follower of Christ.

Let’s take a look at what the Bible says about giving our word….

Numbers 30:1,2 NIV 30 Moses said to the heads of the tribes of Israel: “This is what the Lord commands: When a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.

Matthew 5:33-37 NIV 33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is His footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.

Zachariah 8:16 NIV 16 These are the things you are to do: Speak the truth to each other, and render true and sound judgment in your courts.    

Psalm 89:34 NIV34 I will not violate my covenant or alter what my lips have uttered.

Numbers 30:2 NIV When a man makes a vow to the Lord or takes an oath to obligate himself by a pledge, he must not break his word but must do everything he said.

Matthew 5:33 NIV33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’

If and when we disappoint others by not honoring our word, we need to apologize. If we have not kept a commitment or vow before God we need to repent of it and through Christ we can receive a clean slate!  Before we speak we need to consider our words and our commitments so as not to put undue stress and pressure on others to have to carry out our commitments. Let’s remember that in God’s eyes, our words should mean something.

Staying close to the source!

Madoc-20130225-00132[1] I enjoy learning as much as I can about Biblical prophecy. So much of what the media has portrayed over the last several decades is just bunk. Before I came to Christ I remember watching movies that would touch on the subject, demonstrating God pouring out his wrath in various ways but never told anything even close to the real story.

It is a subject that brings fear to a lot of people. Fear that motivates them for a while to seek God, but over time they lose interest and move away from anything resembling  intimacy with Him. Anyone that is seeking God just to avoid His wrath in days to come, is missing the most wonderful thing about Him. They are missing a relationship of love and intimacy that only He can offer. When we come to know who God is, through Christ, we begin to see Him as the loving Father He is and understand that He always desires our fellowship. Fear can draw us to Him but only LOVE will keep us walking with Him.

As we learn of who He is through reading the Word of God, spending time in prayer and spending time in His presence, it slowly begins to sink in how NOTHING can separate us from the LOVE of God.  NOTHING! Paul said it beautifully in the book of Romans….

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.

If you are finding yourself fearful of the things you see on the news and it is causing you anxiety or stress, realizing many of the things  coming to pass have been prophesied, take yourself back to the Word of God. Rediscover through Christ, how very much He loves you and what He did for you!  When we know how much He loves us, we can than trust that He will never give us anymore than we can handle.

1 Corinthians 10:13 NIV 13 No temptation has overtaken you except what is common to mankind. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can endure it. 

As a young believer, I remember feeling incredible fear at times when I would read or see something on the news that had been predicted to happen in  the latter days. It used to cause me a lot of anxiety and I would lose sleep over it. I would dwell on all the possibilities of what could result and how it could affect me, my loved ones and friends.

Today, though it upsets me to see things that are going on; mans inhumanity to man, abuse, mistreatment, hatred, wars etc., I no longer fear the future. I am sure of one thing, Christ will never leave me or forsake me. He has seen me through many trials and will continue to be with me as I complete my journey here.  He is faithful and true.  His love for me is available every morning! He hears me when I cry out to Him. He walks with me through every minute of every day! What He does for me, He does for all His followers. He is no respecter of persons but loves us all equally.

When we take our eyes off of Him and focus on the outward things around us only, we become a slave to our fears and emotions. So while we wait for His return, let’s spend more time with the lover of our soul. As we remain in close intimacy with Christ, fear departs!

1 John 4:18 NIV For there is no fear in love, But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.

Whose voice are you listening to?

John 10:27 NIV “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow Me.”

Through Christ, God has provided the door to our salvation and made us joint heirs. He has also provided the means by which we are to continue to walk closely to Him. This is what He desires. In order for us to be able to do this we must have a steady diet of the Word of God. It is through the Word of God we learn truth and are able to distinguish what is of God’s will and what isn’t. It is our anchor. Along with the Word of God, He has provided the Holy Spirit to first woo us to Christ, to convict us of sin, empower us, equip us for service and to direct us in our daily lives.

2 Corinthians 3:16-18 NIV But whenever anyone turns to the Lord, the veil is taken away. 17 Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom. 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into his image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

John 14:26 NIV But the advocate, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.

Romans 8:11-15 NIV 11 But if the Spirit of Him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, He who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through His Spirit who dwells in you. 12 Therefore, brethren, we are debtors-not to the flesh, to live according to the flesh.13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live. 14 For as many as are led by the spirit of God, these are sons of God. 15 For you did not receive the spirit of bondage again to fear, but you received the Spirit of adoption by whom we cry out “Abba, Father.”

The Holy Spirit dwells within us and leads us in the ways of God. He draws us to Christ and He keeps us close to Him as we yield ourselves to His sweet leading.
The majority of our difficulties come when we begin to allow His voice to be drown out by other voices. When we yield to thoughts of fear, temptation, unjust anger, bitterness, resentment etc. we are choosing to listen to a “foreign” voice. When we entertain thoughts of self defeat, self hatred, discouragement and giving up, we are not hearing the voice of the Spirit. We are hearing the voice of the accuser of the brethren who would love nothing more than to destroy our fellowship with God, our peace and ultimately our life.
The Holy Spirit will bring conviction of sin in order that we can repent and thereby restore our intimacy with God, but He will never attempt to destroy us or who we are in Christ. We are required to test the spirits that we are hearing from. If the voice we hear inside our head is telling us anything that is contrary to the word of God than it is never the Holy Spirit.
Too often Christians walk around in discouragement because they are listening to the accuser’s voice telling them they will never be good enough for God, that God can’t love them after what they just did etc.. Though the Spirit of God will definitely bring conviction when we sin, it is for the reason of repentance. Once we have repented and turned from the sin we are free. The word of God says in

1 John 1:9 NIV If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness!

Any thought, feeling etc. that would follow telling you otherwise is not of God!

To live a victorious life in Christ, we must be immersed in the word of God, it is our truth. Without it, we are subject to being tossed around like rag dolls spiritually and emotionally as we often yield to thoughts and feelings that are not from God. As we daily immerse ourselves in the word of God we are able to quench the fiery darts that are shot our way by holding them up to God’s word.

1 John 4:1-4 NIV Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 2 by this you know the Spirit of God: every spirit that confesses that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is of God, 3 and every spirit that does not confess that Jesus Christ has come in the flesh is not of God. And this is the spirit of the antichrist, which you have heard was coming and is now already in the world. 4 You are of God little children and have overcome them because He who is in you is greater than he who is in the world.
Romans 12:2 NIV And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.

2 Thessalonians 5:21 NIV Test all things; hold fast what is good.

Without renewing our minds in the word of God we lack the discernment required to “prove that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.” If we are to test and prove what thoughts, feelings etc. are from God we have to have a standard to hold them up against. Without studying His word, it is virtually impossible. We are left listening to, justifying and accepting those thoughts as truth. This is why many struggle in their daily walk with Christ. They are trying to do it on their own, unable to hear the voice of the Spirit, and instead yielding to their own voice or the voice of the “foreigner.”

Paul reminds us we are not to walk in the flesh but to be led by the Spirit in the book of Galatians. If there is any question as to which voice you are listening to, you need to ask yourself, “If I follow through with this thought what/where will it ultimately lead me to?”

Galatians 5:16-25 NIV I say then: Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. 17 For the flesh lusts against the Spirit and the Spirit against the flesh: and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish. 18 But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. 19 Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, 20 idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, 21 envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries,and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. 22 But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long suffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness. 23 gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law. 24 and those who are Christ’s have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. 25 If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.

If you are struggling in your walk and finding yourself making poor decisions that end up leading to guilt and further separation from the lover of your soul, you need to spend time in God’s word daily. Renewing your mind will strengthen your walk and help you to challenge and take captive thoughts that are not of God. The battle starts in the mind and when the mind is renewed so is the life. When your thoughts are a mess, so is your life. Ask Christ to give you a new love and hunger for His word and with the power of the Holy Spirit He will begin to transform your thought life.

“Our thinking is like a football that may bonce off in any direction. This can be very treacherous indeed, especially when our thinking, emotions, and wills get mixed together. The only thing that can tame our thinking and help us find a proper path to tread is the Word of God. If our thinking is seized by the Word of God and we begin to pursue a life of obedience to His Word, we then begin to pursue a life of obedience to His Word, we then begin to bear fruit for God.”~Dr. David Yonggi Cho

It’s time to start digging!

John 1:1 NIV 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

John 1:1 NIV 1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.

I love the word of God. This year as I make my annual trek through Genesis to the Book of Revelation, I am seeing so many beautiful gems that I have overlooked in the past! God’s word is exciting, it’s jarring, life changing and what I love the most about it is how it reveals God’s heart towards His people.

Being a parent that raised  5 children, I can’t help but see the  Father heart of God in the Old Testament as He watches His children using their free will to often ignore  the prophets of old and waddle through stages of  idolatry, spiritual laziness and blatant rejection of Him and His laws. It makes my heart hurt to read how He always provided a way for repentance and return and yet His kids chose and often continue to choose rebellion and suffer the consequences,  just as we have all done at some point in our lives.

 Exodus 34:5-7 NIV 5 Now the Lord descended in the cloud and stood with him there, and proclaimed the name of the Lord.6 And the Lord passed before him and proclaimed, “The LORD , the LORD God, merciful and gracious, long suffering, and abounding in goodness and truth, 7 “keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, by no means clearing the guilty, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children and the children’s children to the third and the fourth generation.”

From Genesis to Malachi, God unceasingly calls His children back to Him, offering restoration and peace. Though there has always been and will always be a remnant that remain close to God, the masses would rebel believing life with their idols and philosophies would somehow offer them real peace.

Without reading the Old Testament through we would miss just how the birth of Christ in the New Testament beautifully fulfills the prophecies of  old. How God prepared the perfect plan of redemption for man, not only for the Jew but the Gentile also.  It was a simple plan of redemption where the ultimate perfect “lamb” would be sacrificed once and for all, thereby allowing every man woman and child an opportunity for salvation by believing on Him and following Him. His Son provided and continues to provide the only way to the Father.

  Acts 4:10-12 NIV Then know this, you and all the people of Israel: it is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified, but whom God raised from the dead, that this man stands before you healed. 11 Jesus is the stone you builders rejected, which has become the cornerstone. 12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven, given to mankind by which we must be saved.

As we read through the book of Mark to the book of Revelation we learn even more of the heart of God as we get to know His Son. As we soak ourselves in the treasures of His words and life, we ourselves are changed.

 2 Corinthians 3:18 NIV 18 And we all, who with unveiled faces contemplate the Lord’s glory, are being transformed into His image with ever-increasing glory, which comes from the Lord, who is the Spirit.

If you are not spending time reading your Bible, your life will reflect it. It is a supernatural book offering life changing results. It’s critical that we spend time every day hearing from the lover of our soul, lining ourselves up with His awesome plan for our life! What you start as an act of discipline will soon become a treasure hunt as you delve into His words of life.

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

Are you hoarding the gospel?

The Good News is to be shared.

The Good News is to be shared.

I am amazed at how awesome our God is….Amid struggles of any kind, ailments and diagnoses HE offers peace. Peace that is impossible for anyone who doesn’t know Him and spend time with Him to understand. I know many people right now that are being soaked in prayer and our waiting on God. Resting in various circumstances without wringing their hands or complaining. Just resting, knowing that the lover of their soul has it all under control. Knowing that He will not allow anything to touch our lives that we cannot handle with Him.

I would like everyone to have the same peace. To have the same help in times of trouble. To have an ever present friend who will never leave them or forsake them.

When we see a hurting world of people trying to duke it out on their own it makes us long to share the love of Christ with them.  If we have His love shed abroad in our hearts we can’t help but want to when we know how much sweeter life is with Him, despite our circumstances.

Most of us enjoy sharing some  of the beautiful things in our lives with our friends, coworkers and acquaintances. When our child marries, when we become grandparents, a new house etc.. Though none of these things have the ability to make a huge difference in the life of the one we are sharing with, we all have the need to share. We are created to have fellowship with others. What is more beautiful than the love of Christ in our lives?

Maybe it’s time we stop hoarding the gospel and start sharing the gift that keeps on giving? It’s hard to watch people struggling through life and not want to help. We need to do what we can for others in need and then share Christ. The gospel isn’t for a select few but God desires that ALL would come to Him.  Just as the Chinese proverb says, “Give a man a fish and he will eat for today, teach him to fish and he will eat for a lifetime.” We need to tell others of God’s love for them and let them know that they can go right to the source. They have direct access to the Father through Christ.  They don’t need to spend their entire life counting on and being disappointed by others.

We serve a God that loves us so much He sent His precious Son to die for us. A God that will never leave us or forsake us. A God that is our strong tower in times of trouble. Our healer, deliverer and most of all a constant friend. How can we keep Him to ourselves?

2Peter3:9 NIV 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.

Mark 16:15 NIV He said to them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel, to all creation.”

1 Corinthians 1:17 NIV For Christ did not send me to baptize but to preach the gospel-not with wisdom and eloquence lest the cross of Christ be emptied of its power.

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“Could a mariner sit idle if he heard the drowning cry? Could a doctor sit in comfort and just let his patients die? Could a fireman sit idle, let men burn and give no hand? Can you sit at ease in Zion with the world around you damned?”~Leonard Ravenhill

Deeper Love brings greater change

For many years I  believed that the solution to battling my sinful nature  was to try and rid myself of it by doing works that would go against my natural feelings or tendencies. I would do the things I didn’t want to do, knowing that they were more in line with God’s word. This type of striving proves pretty futile pretty fast! 🙂

Striving will never stop our sinful nature from rearing it’s ugly head. We will just begin to work harder and faster as more and more things pop up and we will exhaust ourselves and quite frankly become fed up with our walk of faith. Sadly many in the body of Christ are doing exactly as I did. Still trying in some way to be deserving of what Christ did for us on the cross.  It’s impossible! Jesus paid the price for our sins because He loves us. The Father sent Him because He loves us. the Spirit of God leads and guides us because He loves us. We will never be able to earn our salvation. IT IS A GIFT!!!

Ephesians 2:8,9 NIV For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith-this is not from yourself -it is a gift of God, not by works so no one can boast.

So how then do we put to death this nature of ours that so often shows itself in the most unflattering ways. We need to realize that we will never be able to do this on our own. It is only by surrendering our will and heart to the lover of our soul. We need to learn who He is by reading His word. We need to spend time in fellowship and prayer with Him so we become intimate with Him.  As we learn of His true nature and His unfailing, fathomless love for us we will begin to fall in love with the only One that will love us at all times despite where we came from or what we have done! Through seeking Him daily and spending time with Him we allow Him the opportunity to bring about the heart changes we need through the sweet working of the Holy Spirit. As our love for Him grows, we no longer desire to hold onto the things that previously bound us. In some cases there will be need for prayer from the body of Christ for the breaking of strongholds if we are unable to get past a particular sin. If and when this is needed, we need to reach out sooner rather than later for prayer as it will keep us from living out the purposes God has for our life. Most of us at some time have needed outside prayer for strength in our walk and there is an awesome power that comes from united prayer! However, if we are spending time in His word and in prayer daily we will not   need to be continually  running to this person and that person looking for our answers.  As we spend time with Him, He will begin to show us areas of our life that we need to change and the Holy Spirit will empower us to bring about those changes as we yield to His promptings.

If you want to have that intimacy with Christ you MUST spend time in His word and with Him in prayer. As with any relationship, love will only grow if you spend time with each other. He longs to spend time with you. He truly is the lover of your soul. Regardless of your background, life experience, depths of sin you have found yourself in, He longs to have a relationship with you.

John 15:9-17 NIV “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love.  When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in His love. I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!  This is my commandment: Love each other in the same way I have loved you.  There is no greater love than to lay down one’s life for one’s friends. You are my friends if you do what I command.  I no longer call you slaves, because a master doesn’t confide in his slaves. Now you are my friends, since I have told you everything the Father told me.  You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.

In 2013, set your desire to spend more time with the lover of your soul. Fall deeper in love with Him and let Him bring about those changes you have been striving to accomplish without success.