Tag Archive | then

YOU and I are His disciples!

John 15:16 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.

John 15:16 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.

There is so much going on in our world right now that could cause us to be distracted from the calling on our lives. We have sports, entertainment, family responsibilities and gatherings, jobs, electronics etc.. It is easy to become waylaid from the purposes God has called us to accomplish.  Each day it is a choice as to whether we will fulfill His purposes for our lives  or we will fulfill our own goals and purposes.  Do we spend more time in front of the tv than in the Word of God? Do we waste time gossiping instead of interceding for others? Do we choose to stay home and relax instead of getting ourselves to church on Sunday? We are daily faced with these type of decisions and sadly many Christians are choosing the way of their own comfort.

We have been given the gift of salvation through a Savior that lovingly died for us yet often we can’t even bring ourselves to spend any time with Him in prayer or in the Word of God. Too often, we would entertain ourselves with things that have little to no lasting spiritual significance. When we made the decision to follow Christ, we became His disciples. As disciples we have a purpose that involves more than our own comfort.

The online Merriam-Webster dictionary gives the following definition of a disciple..

dis·ci·ple

noun \di-ˈsī-pəl\

: someone who accepts and helps to spread the teachings of a famous person

: one of a group of 12 men who were sent out to spread the teachings of Jesus Christ

A disciple has a very distinct purpose and that purpose is to accept and help spread the teachings of their leader, who as Christians, is Christ.  This is not the purpose of just a select few but is the purpose for each and every one of us who calls Christ our Lord and Savior.  Each of us will have a different group of individuals that we are to impact but we are all His disciples and therefore we are all called to share the gospel.  When we choose our own comfort over sharing the gospel we are not being true followers of Christ.  Let’s take a look at a few verses from the Bible on being disciples…

Matthew 28:19-20 NIV 19 Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, 20 and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you. And surely I am with you always, to the very end of the age.”

John 8:31 NIV 31 To the Jews who had believed him, Jesus said, “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples.

John 13:35 NIV 35 By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”

John 15:8 NIV 8 This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.

John 15:16 NIV 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.

Romans 10:14-15 NIV 14 How, then, can they call on the one they have not believed in? And how can they believe in the one of whom they have not heard? And how can they hear without someone preaching to them? 15 And how can anyone preach unless they are sent? As it is written: “How beautiful are the feet of those who bring good news!”

And finally…

Hebrews 10:25 NIV 23 Let us hold unswervingly to the hope we profess, for he who promised is faithful. 24 And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, 25 not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching.

If we are to be true followers of Christ we cannot be Christians in name alone. We must daily make the decision to obey Him and His leading in our lives. We are to share the good news with those who desperately need to hear it! We need to encourage our brothers and sisters who may be struggling and we need to continue to move forward in the power of the Holy Spirit. Every single one of us has been called with a purpose and we all need to be doing our part in the body until Jesus returns or He calls us home.

If you have become a Sunday seat warmer only, ask God to forgive you of your spiritual idleness and stir up in you a desire to fulfill the purposes He has called you to do. Don’t waste another day!

Lord, I ask that you would forgive me for my spiritual laziness that has allowed me to put my comfort before Your purposes for my life. Please stir up in me the giftings that You have given me and show me what I can do this day to further Your kingdom. Give me a heart that loves what You love and hates what You hate and empower me to demonstrate that love to those who need it.  In the precious name of Jesus,  Amen.

Fear bound? It’s time to fight back!

I am convinced that one of the biggest obstacles us followers of Christ face on a day to day basis is fear. From the moment our feet hit the floor the enemy of our soul longs to have us bound up with fear and keep us from moving forward in God’s purpose for us for the day. Sometimes it starts before our feet hit the floor. Many toss and turn all night due to worry and fear.  Fear cripples us and as long as we allow it to rule our minds we will never achieve our destiny in Christ.

So how do we go about ridding ourselves of ongoing fears? We need to challenge each and every one of them as they rear their ugly heads.  The word of God tells us He has NOT given us a spirit of fear.  Therefore when we live in fear we are listening to a foreigner’s voice. We are called to listen to and be guided by the Holy Spirit. If we are making decisions based on fear and walking in fear we are not hearing correctly. We have tuned out the word of God.

When we make our decisions based on our fears we tend to go astray. For example, if we fear God will not provide us with a godly spouse we compromise and start dating outside our faith, this seldom ends well. If we fear God will not meet our financial needs, we refuse to tithe and miss out on the blessings He promises to those who obey Him with their tithes.  If we fear failure, we will never venture out and do anything outside our comfort zone and therefore never accomplish the things God has in store for us! If we fear rejection, we will never be able to move past ourselves and reach out and love on others the way Christ has called us to.  Yielding to fear will keep us frozen! Christ has not called us to stand still but to move forward with Him, being lead by the Holy Spirit. As we grow in our understanding  of His deep love for us, we realize we have NOTHING to fear.

1 John 4:18  tells us 18 There is NO fear in love. But perfect love DRIVES OUT FEAR, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love.  When fear rises within us we need to challenge that fear with God’s word.  For example, if we are afraid to trust God with our finances we need to open up our Bibles and find all the scriptures on how God will provide for His children. Just a few examples are Philipians 4:19 NIV19 And my God will meet all your needs according to the riches of his glory in Christ Jesus. Or Matthew 7:11 NIV 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him!  There are many more verses that will speak truth to us with regards to God meeting our needs. We needn’t fear!  Taking the time to write out all the verses pertaining to a particular fear you may be dealing with is well worth it! Sow those words into your heart so that when the fear tries to ensnare you, you have a weapon of defense! If you continue to listen to the fear you will eventually succumb to it.  This goes for fear of any kind, whether it be fear of failure, fear of being alone, fear of rejection etc. Romans 8:15 NIV says, 15 The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.And by him we cry, “Abba,Father.”

When we allow fear to speak to us throughout each day we are not allowing the Spirit of God to lead us as we should.  Christ’s love for us is a perfect love and when we look to Him as our Savior, provider, healer, deliverer and lover of our soul, there isn’t anything too big for us to face or do.

If you are struggling with fear and have tuned out the voice of God, get back into reading the Bible. Ask God to reveal to you His truth for your life. Ask Him to replace fear based lies with the truth of His word. Ask Him to show you your true identity as a blood bought, child of the Most High God. Ask Him to show you the lies from the truth. Sometimes when we have listened to a fear based lie too long we have accepted it as the truth! You must challenge each and every fearful thought  as it comes!  2 Corinthians 10:5 tells us 5 We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.  Christ didn’t save you for you to stay as you were, bound by sin and fear.  He saved you and desires to change you more and more into His image so that you can be a light in this very dark world of ours. So that you can bless others and love on others as He does.  Don’t allow fear to keep you back from fulfilling His beautiful plan for your life!

Remember this:  Isaiah 41:10 NIV 10 So do not fear, for I am with you; do not be dismayed, for I am your God.
I will strengthen you and help you;  I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.

Are your sins becoming to HEAVY to carry?

Has prayer become something you would rather avoid ?  Are you carrying around a suitcase of sin that needs to be carried to and opened before Christ? When we find ourselves carrying sin baggage, it weighs us down. It keeps us from moving forward with God. Instead of eagerly coming to Him, we find ourselves trying to keep busy with other things. Things that distract us from the One who is willing to take that baggage and throw it in His sea of forgetfulness.

You are not alone in your sin. It is something all of us inherited, thanks to Adam and Eve.  I, like yourself and even  Apostle Paul have a battle brewing within us.  Romans 7:15-25 NLT says, 15 I don’t really understand myself, for I want to do what is right, but I don’t do it. Instead, I do what I hate. 16 But if I know that what I am doing is wrong, this shows that I agree that the law is good. 17 So I am not the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.

18 And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. 19 I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. 20 But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it.21 I have discovered this principle of life—that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. 22 I love God’s law with all my heart. 23 But there is another powerwithin me that is at war with my mind. This power makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me. 24 Oh, what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death? 25 Thank God! The answer is in Jesus Christ our Lord. So you see how it is: In my mind I really want to obey God’s law, but because of my sinful nature I am a slave to sin.

Does this scripture give us an excuse to carry on in deliberate sin?  NO, it does not. It does however explain the battle we have. It also gives us our solution.

It is to bring every sin back to the cross of Christ. We are not to excuse them but confess them and leave them at the foot of the cross, where the One who died for us wants us to leave them. The more we love Him and spend time with Him, the more it grieves us when we do do the things we know He hates.  When Paul says “Oh what a miserable person I am! Who will free me from this life that is dominated by sin and death?” we get a glimpse of the pain his sin has caused him.  This is the pain we as followers of Christ too should feel when we are grieving the heart of God. Rather than this pain leading us to despair and discouragement it should lead us to Jesus where we can confess it and be forgiven.

As long as we walk this earthly journey we will be in battle. Let’s not become callous to the things that grieve our Lord. Let’s not harden our hearts to sin to the point that we no longer feel the need to bring it before Him. Ask God to keep your heart tender before Him. Spend time with Him in prayer, and in reading His Word. Stay close to the lover of your soul. Don’t allow unconfessed  sin to build  a wall between you and the One who willingly died for every one of your sins. You can’t win the battle without coming before our Mighty Warrior, which is Christ. He is our solution to our sin. He and He alone.

The following scripture beautifully tells us followers of Christ of our inheritance and position in Him.

Romans 3:23-30 NLT 23 For everyone has sinned; we all fall short of God’s glorious standard. 24 Yet God, with undeserved kindness, declares that we are righteous. He did this through Christ Jesus when he freed us from the penalty for our sins. 25 For God presented Jesus as the sacrifice for sin. People are made right with God when they believe that Jesus sacrificed his life, shedding his blood. This sacrifice shows that God was being fair when he held back and did not punish those who sinned in times past, 26 for he was looking ahead and including them in what he would do in this present time. God did this to demonstrate his righteousness, for he himself is fair and just, and he declares sinners to be right in his sight when they believe in Jesus.

27 Can we boast, then, that we have done anything to be accepted by God? No, because our acquittal is not based on obeying the law. It is based on faith. 28 So we are made right with God through faith and not by obeying the law.

29 After all, is God the God of the Jews only? Isn’t he also the God of the Gentiles? Of course he is. 30 There is only one God, and he makes people right with himself only by faith, whether they are Jews or Gentiles.

Don’t let another minute pass before coming before Him. He is waiting to hear from you. He will not turn you away.

Is He your priority?

Our calling, as followers of Christ is not a following of convenience. It is a following of love and passion for the One that first loved us. The One who willingly suffered excruciating pain, shed His blood and laid down His life in order that we would have access to fellowship with the Father. He provided the ultimate sacrifice on the altar of the cross and that was Himself. Enabling us to become the righteousness of God through Him.

It would do us well to remember every time we come before Him in prayer of the high price He paid. Also, the deep love of God our Father that He loved us enough to provide His Son as the ultimate sacrifice!

1Peter 3:18 NIV 18For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.

We serve an awesome, holy, just and loving God who has provided His Holy Spirit to draw us to Him and enable us to be transformed from glory to glory. He provides His Word that we can feed on. His supernatural Word that teaches, guides, transforms and gives us a firm foundation of promises to stand on.

There is nothing He hasn’t provided for us to live a life in union with Him. However, just as any good Father He will never force us to choose Him. It is ultimately up to us to turn to Him. He wants our love to be given freely. He did not create us to be robots but gave us freedom to choose to love and follow Him or to reject Him.

If we love Him, we need to live as if we do. If a loved one told you they loved you yet never spent time with you,  you would have a very difficult time believing it. When we decide to put other things and people before our relationship with God we demonstrate disregard not love.  No relationship will grow with neglect and abandonment and it is the same with our relationship with Christ. We need to spend time with Him in prayer, reading His Word and following His will for our lives. We need to serve others as He served.

Colossians 3:1-4 NIV 3 Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God.Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is yourlife, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.

If you have been neglecting Him, it’s time you put aside the things that are temporal and spend time with the lover of your soul. No other can compare or replace Him. Time spent without intimacy with Christ is time wasted on things that will soon pass. Time spent with Him and in His Word gives us the wisdom and guidance to make the right decisions in all the other areas of our life. When we put Him first the rest of our lives work out for His glory. When we put things and others first it ultimately results in chaos.

Matthew 6:31-34 NIV 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Don’t put your relationship with Christ in a “convenience” category, thinking you will get around to spending time with Him later after you get all the things that are so much more important done.  We are told to watch and be ready for His return at any time. There really is nothing worth sacrificing our intimacy with the One who gave His life as a sacrifice for us. My desire is that when He does return we will be found ready and waiting!

1 John 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.

Who are you interceding for?

Anyone that has been watching the news lately realizes there is an escalation of persecution for our brothers and sisters in Christ. Egypt, Nigeria, Ethiopia, India and the list goes on and on…. even to a degree here in North America where it is no longer politically correct to stand for the principles of God’s Word and if you do, you may be mocked or criticized. Though Jesus warned us that this day would come, it is difficult to hear how so many are being martyred worldwide for their faith. Most of the perpetuators are extremists on the outside but it is the same spirit of antichrist that ruled the world in times past. It is just escalating as Jesus warned us it would, as time draws closer to His return. We need to not only pray for those being persecuted but that the persecutors will come to know this Jesus that we love so much!

Everything we see going on today is a petition to prayer! Pray for North Americans to be bold in Christ and not be as the Word of God says, whitewashed tombs. Spiritually dead on the inside and appearing righteous on the outside! We need to wake ourselves out of a spiritual slumber of comfort and begin interceding for our families, Pastors and those in Christian leadership, churches, friends, leaders of nations, and our brothers and sisters in Christ worldwide! We need to stop wasting so much time doing things that have no permanent value and become warriors in prayer for the lost, the persecuted and for each other. Prayer is the wheel that will begin to get change rolling in the lives of others and ourselves. Without it, we cannot expect to see God intercede. It really does change things, people and situations.

The Bible has several verses on praying for others. Too many to list them all here but here is a start….

James 5:16 NIV 16 Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.

Matthew 5:4  AKJV44 But I say unto you, Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you.

These next few verses in the book of Luke show just how important it is not to quit praying. God hears our prayers and we are not to quit!

Luke 18:1-8 NIV 1 Then Jesus told his disciples a parable to show them that they should always pray and not give up.He said: “In a certain town there was a judge who neither feared God nor cared what people thought. And there was a widow in that town who kept coming to him with the plea, ‘Grant me justice against my adversary.’

“For some time he refused. But finally he said to himself, ‘Even though I don’t fear God or care what people think, yet because this widow keeps bothering me, I will see that she gets justice, so that she won’t eventually come and attack me!’”

And the Lord said, “Listen to what the unjust judge says. 7 And will not God bring about justice for his chosen ones, who cry out to him day and night? Will he keep putting them off? I tell you, he will see that they get justice, and quickly. However, when the Son of Man comes, will he find faith on the earth?”

Ephesians 6:18 NIV 18 And pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers and requests. With this in mind, be alert and always keep on praying for all the Lord’s people.

2 Thessalonians 3:1 NIV 3 As for other matters, brothers and sisters, pray for us that the message of the Lord may spread rapidly and be honored, just as it was with you.

and finally…

1 Timothy 2:1 NIV 2 I urge, then, first of all, that petitions, prayers, intercession and thanksgiving be made for all people.

We have a valuable tool available to us that can bring about enormous change for the lost, the weak, the broken, the persecuted, the hurting, those in authority, those being used by our enemy etc…  Let”s use this tool and do what the Word of God says to do!  If we spend more time interceding in prayer and less time complaining we will begin to see the changes our hearts long for before Jesus returns!

“Prayerlessness is disobedience, for God’s command is that men ought always to pray and not faint. To be prayer less is to fail God, for He says, ask of me.”~ Leonard Ravenhill

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