Tuesday, December 29, 2009

New Year, NO YOU!

*** Remember before anything else that God LOVES you just the way you are!!! ***

Here we are again; another new year is upon us. This is a time where many people make resolutions. They want to be a better person or a new person. Around this time many people proclaim how they are going to drop a habit, pick a new hobby, get in shape, etc. Many Christians even claim how they are going to be more dedicated in things like church attendance, church involvement, and their Christian life in general. In either case, usually by March or so whatever amazing ideas someone had have faded out and have been given up on. In situations like these there are a few facts we must realize.

The first is simply that no person has any real power by themselves. So often around this time we hear, “I’m going to quit…” or “I’m going to start…” I’m, I’m, I’m…leads to failure! People are putting power in themselves and not leaning on the power of the Holy Spirit for change. Let’s look again at Galatians 6:16-26 (KJV):


16This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the
flesh.

17For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit
against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye
cannot do the things that ye would.

18But if ye be led of the Spirit, ye
are not under the law.

19Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which
are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,

20Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife,
seditions, heresies,

21Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and
such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past,
that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.

22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering,
gentleness, goodness, faith,

23Meekness, temperance: against such there
is no law.

24And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh with
the affections and lusts.

25If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk
in the Spirit.

26Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking one
another, envying one another.

By our own power we are destined to fall into our same habits and mess because that’s what the flesh leads to. Man, relying on his own sinful nature can only cause him more anger, jealousy, pain, hate, sin, and so forth. There is a difference, however, when we stop trying to better ourselves by ourselves (which is impossible) and let God take control of us through the work of the Holy Spirit. This is the only way we can become better; through letting God work in us and lead us. To do this properly we must know what it is that God wants us to focus on in our lives; after all we owe our lives to Him.

My second point- you must have the right agenda. When you claim you are trying to do better and so forth whose purposes are you trying to fulfill; yours or God’s? So often we make plans and resolutions for our lives and we are chasing the wrong things and desires. There may even be times where an item on your list may seem good, but the intent is actually evil. For example you may want to go back to school and/or get a better job, which is fine, but not if it's just because you love money and want more. Or many people want to get in shape or improve their physical appearance. This is also fine if the intent is to be healthier person, but not if you just want to be a player. Romans 12:1-2 (KJV) tells us:


1I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your
bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable
service.

2And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by
the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable,
and perfect, will of God.

OUR LIVES BELONG TO GOD! WE ARE HIS! When you make plans for your future, whatever they may be, ask yourself this about each one: Will this please God? Was this inspired by Jesus? How will God get the glory from this? Remember if we put God first He will take care of the rest (see Matthew 6:33).

Third point- there is no power in January 1st! It is just another day. So often people wallow and wade in their filthy sins waiting for the new year to come around and make resolutions like there is something so special about that time of year. Don’t make new year’s resolutions! This almost contagious attitude of renewal, betterment, and growth that so many get around the new year should be had ALL YEAR ROUND by Christians in regard to their relationship with Christ. We should feel like the Apostle Paul in Philippians 3:13-14 (KJV):

13Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do,
forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things
which are before,

14I press toward the mark for the prize of the high
calling of God in Christ Jesus.

This is why I say a new year, NO YOU! Don’t worry yourself about the matters of life. Don’t worry about anything at all. Just focus on God and what He wants you to do, and He will take care of the rest. Forget about your own plans, seek what God has for you. Why try on your own when you have The One on your side who can speak life into existence, part the Red Sea, rise from the dead, know the ending before beginning, and that list goes ON AND ON.

Remember that God loves you just the way you are. Thrive after pleasing God and the fruit of the Spirit. Keep this attitude from the new year and keep it up forever!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanks

So we are in the time of the year between Thanksgiving and Christmas. A time where most people are focused on what they are about to receive. Many people are always focused on what they do not have and what they want. Often we get so caught up on what we want and what we do not have that we forget to be thankful. Let's see some of what the Bible has to say about thanks.

Psalm 136:1-5 (KJV):

1O give thanks unto the LORD; for he is good: for his mercy endureth for ever.

 2O give thanks unto the God of gods: for his mercy endureth for ever.

     3O give thanks to the Lord of lords: for his mercy endureth for ever.

     4To him who alone doeth great wonders: for his mercy endureth for ever.

     5To him that by wisdom made the heavens: for his mercy endureth for ever.

What I can get from passages such as this one is that we should always be thankful in everything we do. Even when times are tough, we should have that same thankful and grateful attitude. I know many people can talk like this, but it is another thing to actually live with this attitude. So in a different format from my usual posts I just want to highlight two people that truly live their lives in a thankful fashion.

The first is my grandmother. She has been through many struggles in her life, but most people would not know that. She has multiple sclerosis. Basically this is a condition that inhibits the function of the nervous. It has inhibited her walking, vision, driving, and more. Some of this I know from hearing about and some I know first hand. Although life has not been easy for her, I have never seen her in a bad mood. She is always talking about the goodness of God. She is constantly studying the bible. She always gives words of encouragement to those who need it. Bottom line, she always puts the concerns of others before herself.

She may not move like she used to, but her mind is still well. Unlike many other people she uses what she has instead of focusing on the bad. She sends her family and friends cards and/or gifts for every occasion, I mean EVERY occasion! Even there have been some obstacles along the way, she chooses to spread love in this world the way Christ commands us to.

The second person is Mother Vallie Moore. May people from my church know her as Church Granny. The other day I went to visit her and she was just telling how she was doing. S she was talking she started to reflect on her life. She told me about the avid Sunday school teacher, bible study attendee, and overall church volunteer she used to be. As she went on she began to go through how the inevitable happenings of life have slowed her down. She explained that now she can not move around like she used too. However, even with all this she told me that she was satisfied with her life. She told me that God is still good no matter what. She went on to let me know that no matter what happens in her life, she will still give God praise.

These are just two examples of what attitude we should all have in life. No matter what circumstances we go through in our lives, we need to be thankful and give God praise! The strength and the joy that these women of God display even in their rough times helps me to press on when times get rough for me. Think about that. We should always give thanks not only because God is always worthy, but also because we do not know who is watching us and therefore who we can be an encouragement to!!!

DON'T WORRY ABOUT WHAT IS NOT WORKING IN YOUR LIFE!

FOCUS IN THE GOOD!!

GIVE GOD THE GLORY!!!

HE IS WORTHY!!!!

GIVE THANKS TO THE LORD!!!!

    "In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you."

        1 Thessalonians 5:18 (KJV)

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Trick-or Treat!

Halloween. A day where many people, young and old, participate in the festivities. People go trick-or-treating, to parties, to haunted houses, etc. Many people dress up in costumes for the occasion. This is usually just for fun. A cheap mask or outfit is worn that another person can easily tell that someone is really not an astronaut, superman, a cowboy, or whatever the costume may be. Many people claim to only participate in this sort of activity once a year or not at all. The truth is that there are many Christians out here claiming to be so righteous and so holy and they are just wearing a cheap mask.

There are too many Christians trying to do everything all by themselves. We try to go through this CHRISTian walk alone (notice the root word of Christian). We try to do better in our daily actions and break away form our sins, but we are not trying to know God more. By ourselves, this is impossible. We need God to help us break away from our human nature. Many people talk about the fruit of the spirit in Galatians chapter 5, but they do not read what is before it; the work of the flesh. Galatians 5:16-26 (KJV) reads:

16This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfil the lust of the
flesh.
17For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit
against the flesh: and these are contrary the one to the other: so that ye
cannot do the things that ye would.
18But if ye be led of the Spirit,
ye are not under the law.
19Now the works of the flesh are manifest,
which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness,
20Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife,
seditions, heresies,
21Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and
such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past,
that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering,
gentleness, goodness, faith,
23Meekness, temperance: against such
there is no law.
24And they that are Christ's have crucified the flesh
with the affections and lusts.
25If we live in the Spirit, let us also
walk in the Spirit.
26Let us not be desirous of vain glory, provoking
one another, envying one another.


These works of the flesh are our natural, carnal desires that are our human nature. When we come to Christ, the Holy Spirit is in us. However our flesh, or human nature, still exists also. Whatever age we were when we came to Christ, for that many years our natural habits, desires, and motives had been instilled in us. So to try and just start changing our actions on our own just will not work. Our worldly ways have been embedded in us so we must do the same with the ways of God.

I am sure we have all had a bad habit or addiction, whether we want to admit it or not. A common pattern to see is a Christian claim they are going to stop going to a certain place or doing a certain thing. They might hold out for a while, but eventually they come back to some mess that they tried to leave behind. This is because many times we try to mimic God’s ways without seeking God’s mind. Notice that Galatians says the “fruit” of the spirit.

How does fruit come forth? First a seed must be planted. Then the seed is taken care of with water, sunlight, etc. After much time and care a beautiful fruit is grown. With little care a seed might not grow at all or just grows very poorly. After receiving Salvation, having the Holy Spirit in us is like having a seed planted. Only through feeding our spirits through studying the word of God, talking to God, and knowing His ways (not just knowing about His ways), can the fruit of the spirit flourish in us. Our outward actions will be different because our spirits are truly different (more like Christ). The Holy Spirit will grow in us. We do not need to just know what the word of God says, but we need to meditate on it. We need to let it saturate and overtake our minds.

Philippians 4:4-9 (KJV) reads:

4Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, Rejoice.
5Let your
moderation be known unto all men. The Lord is at hand.
6Be careful for
nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let
your requests be made known unto God.
7And the peace of God, which
passeth all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ
Jesus.
8Finally, brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever
things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure,
whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be
any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things.
9Those
things, which ye have both learned, and received, and heard, and seen in me, do:
and the God of peace shall be with you.


We must be focused on these good and righteous things mentioned in this scripture. This means we must constantly monitor what influences get into our minds. There are many influences that we can not avoid. These include people we work (or go to school) with, billboards, and television commercials. With so many negative forces that we can passively let affect us, Christians need to actively control whatever influences we can. These include our friends, what we watch on television, what music we listen to, the books we read, and the places we choose to go. To keep our mind on righteous things we must surround ourselves with positive and Christ focused influences.

Colossians 3: 1-11 reads:

1Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above,
where Christ is seated at the right hand of God. 2Set your minds on things
above, not on earthly things. 3For you died, and your life is now hidden with
Christ in God. 4When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will
appear with him in glory.
5Put to death, therefore, whatever belongs
to your earthly nature: sexual immorality, impurity, lust, evil desires and
greed, which is idolatry. 6Because of these, the wrath of God is coming. 7You
used to walk in these ways, in the life you once lived. 8But now you must rid
yourselves of all such things as these: anger, rage, malice, slander, and filthy
language from your lips. 9Do not lie to each other, since you have taken off
your old self with its practices 10and have put on the new self, which is being
renewed in knowledge in the image of its Creator.


When you earnestly seek Christ you will not have to put on a costume or fake being righteous. You will be happy with the real you and God will too!!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

No Pain, No Gain

An interesting phrase. So short, yet the applications are virtually endless. To me it goes right along with the popular saying that anything worth having is worth working for. People go through situations like this all the time. This can range from the workplace, the classroom, and even in relationships. To get to a new level, we need to prove ourselves. I think the simplest example is that of exercising. Many people put themselves through uncomfortable experiences and challenges to test their and improve their strength, endurance, and overall performance.
In the situation of physical exercise, I believe that one of three possible outcomes will occur. The first is that someone will quit. The pain is too much for them and they just give up, accepting their limitations and becoming complacent. A second outcome is that one will get to a certain level and stay there. They reach a certain point and are comfortable, with no desire to go further. Thirdly, after reaching a point where they are no longer being challenged, a person can get into new and more difficult challenges to make their performance even better. This can be continued every time plateaus are reached so that performance can continually be improved upon.

If this sort of training and development can happen with our bodies, we need to realize that this is also true with our souls!

In life we go through many tough situations and trials. They are uncomfortable, but necessary. Just as we put ourselves through physical tests, God tries our spirits. Through this we realize what our weaknesses are as well as our strong points. We also can improve our spiritual performance.
Romans 5: 1-5 says:
Therefore, since we have been justified through faith, we have peace with God
through our Lord Jesus Christ, through whom we have gained access by faith into
this grace in which we now stand. And we rejoice in the hope of the glory of
God. Not only so, but we also rejoice in our sufferings, because we know that
suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope.
And hope does not disappoint us, because God has poured out his love into our
hearts by the Holy Spirit, whom he has given us.

What we can see through this is the necessity of our trials. Hopefully through these rough situations we do not just become comfortable with where we are spiritually, but we grow. Many people wonder why they go through the same problems or situations over and over again. One possibility could be that they are going through the same tests over and over again because they keep failing! Instead of giving up and staying sad we need to remember that God loves us and wants the best for us. So there must be reason for our trials.
Sometimes our trials can be for punishment. Hebrews 12:10-11 (NIV) states:
Our fathers disciplined us for a little while as they thought best; but God
disciplines us for our good, that we may share in his holiness. No discipline
seems pleasant at the time, but painful. Later on, however, it produces a
harvest of righteousness and peace for those who have been trained by
it.

In our trials we need to stop and examine ourselves. What have I done wrong? Have I truly been acting like a Christian should? Is there someone I need to forgive? Am I doing something I shouldn’t be? Am I NOT doing something that I know I should? Instead of focusing on the problem, try to focus more on how to act during the problem. The reason could be for improvement for our spiritual lives as well as chastisement. Either way we need to trust God and get closer to Him.
Other times, we may not know the reason for our trials and it may not be meant for us to know. Romans 11:33-38 states:
Sometimes we need to just sit back and trust God; knowing that He is all powerful and all knowing. This can be frustrating, but Hebrews 13:20-21(KJV) gives us something to think about:
Now the God of peace, that brought again from the dead our Lord Jesus, that
great shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting
covenant,
Make you perfect in every good work to do his will,
working in you that which is wellpleasing in his sight, through Jesus Christ; to
whom be glory for ever and ever. Amen.

Not our will, but God’s! Just like we can exercise our bodies and keep track of the physical changes, God is working in our spirits and is making something that pleases Him. As we subject our bodies to physical challenges, we don’t give up just because it hurts. WHY? Because we understand that the pain is for a purpose and we are becoming better. To a much greater extent, the Lord subjects our souls to sometimes seemingly unbearable challenges. WHY? Because He KNOWS that it is making us better. So the next time you just feel like just asking God, “Why am I going through this Lord!?” Just remember:

NO PAIN, NO GAIN!!!

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Walking On Water

Sounds tough at first, but with God all things are possible through faith. Many times Christians miss out on peace and joy because we are afraid to act on faith. Other times we step out and then worry, which causes us to fail also. As Christians we should understand that through Christ we can do anything. If the Lord is calling us to do something, then through faith we can accomplish the task, no matter how small or great. Along with feeding the five-thousand, the 14th chapter of Matthew tells the story of Peter and his experience with Jesus on the water. Verses 25-33(NIV) read:

25During the fourth watch of the night Jesus went
out to them, walking on the lake. 26When the disciples saw him walking on the
lake, they were terrified. "It's a ghost," they said, and cried out in fear.
27But Jesus immediately said to them: "Take courage! It is I. Don't be
afraid."
28"Lord, if it's you," Peter replied, "tell me to come to you
on the water."
29"Come," he said.
Then Peter got
down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. 30But when he
saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, "Lord, save me!"
31Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. "You of
little faith," he said, "why did you doubt?"
32And when they climbed
into the boat, the wind died down. 33Then those who were in the boat worshiped
him, saying, "Truly you are the Son of God."

Why did Peter doubt? It’s an interesting question. I believe this situation is a good outline for many situations we go through today and can help us analyze them better. There are three points that I find in these verses that really catch my attention.

The first is that the disciples were on this boat shortly after the miracle of Jesus feeding the five-thousand with five loaves of bread and two fish. Even after this, Peter still doubted Jesus’ power while he was on the water. In situations where we must step out we must remember who God really is and what He can do. Our God today is the same God who spoke the earth into being, parted the Red Sea, and rose from the dead; just to mention an extremely miniscule amount of his works. On top of that, everyday God miraculously gives us life, activities of our bodies, and is always working out seemingly impossible situations. With all of this we still doubt. WHY??? We must remember God is all powerful and through Him we can do all. Peter got scared because of the winds blowing. We must be able to withstand the winds in our lives.

The second interesting point about this situation is that Peter asks the Lord to tell him to come out on the water. Our Lord Jesus did His part by simply telling Peter to come and the rest was up to Peter. Often Christians ask the Lord for something, but do not want to do the necessary work to receive it. To get closer to God our faith must grow more in Him. When we ask God for a deeper relationship with Him and more faith in Him, we must realize that we will go through some uncomfortable situations. Uncomfortable as they may be, however, we will be fine as long as we keep the faith in Jesus. We must be ready for what we ask God for.

The third interesting point in the scene is the fact that Jesus is out walking on the water while Peter is in the boat at first. We need to understand that we are nowhere near God’s level. Man’s most intricate and complex achievements are much less than simple to the Lord. Basically, it is like we are just sitting in a boat and God is out walking on water. The former being something very normal to us, the latter being something very out of the ordinary. When we get ready to get closer to God we need to know that we will be leaving our comfort zones. This will include dropping old habits, friends, places, thoughts, desires, motives, and much more. It is difficult, but necessary. The worth of it is greater than I could explain.

From this I gathered three basic points when dealing with faith:

DO NOT FORGET GOD IS ALL POWERFUL.

BE READY FOR WHAT YOU ASK FOR.

GOING CLOSER TO JESUS IS UNCOMFORTABLE, BUT WELL WORTH IT.

The sixth chapter of Ephesians explains the spiritual armor we need for spiritual battle. In this chapter faith is represented as the shield. As a child, I often wondered why this was. Over the years I realized why faith is the shield. If we have weak faith, or a small shield, we lack the ability to trust God and are more susceptible to lies and attacks from the enemy. However, if we have strong faith, or a large shield, then we better understand our position in Christ and we are more able to go through situations/areas that may be dangerous. This is because with a large shield of faith we don’t let outside circumstances affect what we know about the Lord. We know that Jesus is omnipotent in the boat, out on the water, and absolutely everywhere.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

IN CASE YOUR SITUATION HAS TURNED UPSIDE DOWN...

The Potter's House, one of my absolute favorite songs. The message is somewhat simple, but still very deep. It's one of those concepts that I've KNOWN for a long time, but am truly starting to REALIZE. Many times our lives just seem like everything is going wrong, which very well may be. Even in these situations importance must be placed on truly understanding who God is and what He can do. We must remember that the Lord is all-knowing and all-powerful. Perhaps more importantly we must remember that His grace, mercy, and love for us never goes away. If we really do believe that all things work together for the good of those of us that love Him (Romans 8:28), then why worry? Once this concept is taken in, then we can rest assured in the fact that our trials are never in vain. Sometimes we know what the purpose is or we find out eventually. Other times we never find out and may never know, but we know that there ALWAYS is a purpose. This leads me to two great examples of how God works in his mysterious ways through our trials.

The first is the story of Job; a man who was extremely prosperous in almost every way imaginable. The Lord allowed Satan to attack Job, but still had boundaries that He would not allow the Devil to cross. Job lost his wealth, possessions, and his children. He was broken down to a point where most believers would have lost faith in God long before. In the midst of the trials Job did not understand why he was going through, but he remembered who God was to Him. He kept his faith and remembered that Job is not omniscient, but God is. After a long period of suffering the Lord brought Job to a higher point than Job had ever been before. This made Job's faith stronger and also those around him that saw the way he endured. In addition to that, because this story is in the Bible, this account of radical faith has reached and enriched countless people since Job's time and is still continuing to do so. Definitely not in vain.

The second is the story of our greatest example, Jesus. A truly miraculous account of how our God works mysteriously. Jesus came to this world to die for our sins, and He knew that when He came. Those that were against Jesus continually tried to have Him killed, and obviously they eventually succeeded. What strikes me as so interesting about this situation is that while those who were against our Lord were constantly trying to kill him, in all actuality they were fulfilling our Lord's plan that had been prophesied for many years before.

Psalm 110:1 (KJV):
The LORD said unto my Lord, Sit thou at my right hand, until I make thine enemies thy footstool.

Jesus is our ultimate example, period. When we are going through and people/forces are persecuting us, we should not have to think, but we need to know that God is working for our good in immeasurable ways.

Matthew 5:11-13 (KJV) says:
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
Ye are the salt of the earth: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be salted? it is thenceforth good for nothing, but to be cast out, and to be trodden under foot of men.


After we have come to Christ if every single thing just goes well for us, what are we really good for? We must continue to have hills and valleys so that He can do his good works in us and we can display Christ to the world. In the middle of rough situations, remember it is not the end. Simply stated, "You don't have to stay in the shape that you're in; the Potter wants to put you back together again."


BUT WE MUST BE BROKEN DOWN FIRST TO BE BUILT BACK UP!!!..............

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Moving On

I wrote this in January of this year when I realized my focus in life was not totally where it should be. A few people and situations were trying to pull me down and I wasn't recognizing or giving enough glory to God for all the blessings He was giving me. I am too blessed to let the enemy steal my joy!...

A lot of pain I could write about and sorrow I could wallow in
And I’m sure it would turn out good
But the past is just that, let the future begin
So I’ll move on like I should

Breaking me and making me
Adding Him and taking me Away!
Preparation for a brand new day

Fervent and effectual
Reverent and correctional Prayer!
Pressing for the mark Lord take me there!

Yeah they hurt me many times
And the pain I still remember
But they’re not worth my rhymes
Let the pain stay in December

The high calling is at hand
But the pain I can’t withstand Alone!
Thank you Jesus I’m not on my own

Like my big brother Paul
Through the storms I count it all Joy!
The Virgin Mary had that baby Boy

Philippians 4:8,9 (NIV): Finally, brothers, 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. Whatever you have learned or received or heard from me, or seen in me—put it into practice. And the God of peace will be with you.

Sunday, May 31, 2009

LATE IN THE MIDNIGHT HOUR

GOD'S GOING TO TURN IT AROUND!
This is one of my favorite Fred Hammond lines mainly because of how the line is set up. The negative portion of the line is the former and the positive portion is the latter. I believe this is how Christians should approach our walk in Christ. Sometimes we are tired and worn, but it is fine because we know that we are standing up for our beliefs, for what is right. We also know that in whatever we go through we will be victorious because we have Christ on our side. We just have to hold on and stay with the Lord, simple as that.

In many situations we go through we can get discouraged because we do not see a way out and as far as we can see, there may not be one. I have heard Hebrews 11 referred to as, "The Faith Hall of Fame" as it highlights people who took drastic steps out on faith in some of the worst situations. These include Abraham, Abel, Noah, Joshua, and the one I think about quite often; Moses. With Pharaoh's army behind him and the Red Sea in front, Moses was definitely faced with a dilemma. Instead of just giving up because what he could see looked like it was the end, he trusted God, had faith in God, and he called on God. Miraculously, the Lord parted the sea and Moses' people walked across, Pharaoh and his people drowned.

I have been through some rough situations, but none as terrifying as what Moses endured. It helps me realize that sometimes in trials we are not supposed to see the way out or what is coming next. This is because God wants us to truly rely on him through faith; the substance of things hoped for and the evidence of things not seen. If everything in our lives were laid out clearly and perfectly for us, many (probably all) of us would lose focus and direction because we would not feel the need to lean on the Lord. The Lord has to give us trials and tests to make us remember that he is still God and that we must lean solely on him. Hopefully during these situations we learn to trust him more and more and are growing deeper in Christ.

In relation to the midnight hour analogy I like to say that when we feel we are at our lowest points and we just can not take anymore that it is 11:45. We are almost there, we just have to keep holding on and staying strong in Christ. We must remember verses such as:

Ye are of God, little children, and have overcome them: because greater is he that is in you, than he that is in the world. (1 John 4:4)

Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us. (Romans 8:37)

I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me. (Phillipians 4:13)

We also must remember that we must stay in the word so that we have a strong sword in this spiritual battle as in Ephesians 6. We must remember that God loves us and he is always on our side. I believe Romans 8:32 sums it up quite well:

He that spared not his own Son, but delivered him up for us all, how shall he not with him also freely give us all things?

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Humility

Many times we believe that we are too good to do certain things. We may feel that because we have reached a certain age, degree, status, and such that certain jobs, situations, or activities are beneath us. I have been through this recently due to having to work a certain shift and performing job duties that I felt were beneath me. I often said and thought things like, "I make X amount of dollars a year!" and, "I have a college degree!" These feelings ensued the feeling that these tasks were fit for someone lesser than me. Then while studying Philippians, I really thought about the second chapter. Philippians 2:5-11(NIV) says:

"Your attitude should be the same as that of Christ Jesus: Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be grasped, but made himself nothing, taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself and became obedient to death—even death on a cross! Therefore God exalted him to the highest place and gave him the name that is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father."

Quite spiritually, this stirred much different, much holier thoughts in me. I realized that if Jesus can come all the way down from Heaven to the form of man and die for us, an unwanted shift or duty is not so bad. Another thought came when I realized God rewards humility. Jesus took the deepest plunge and now his name is above all names. So if I take this plunge the Lord will make me better for it in some way. Maybe there was a blessing waiting for me that I had to learn a lesson of humility first to receive? Maybe someone else needed to see me accept this work and endure it like a true born again believer so God can witness to them through me. Maybe I'll never know why, but that's quite alright because I know God has it all in control and he is taking care of everything. After all, if he gave his only son for us to die, what makes us think he is not taking care of all aspects of our lives. Or, maybe not what, but who wants us to believe that?...

While going through I learned to talk to the Lord more, praise him more, and study his word much more. This was the only way I could have made it through. While having to lean on the Lord more I realized that I truly must rely on only him at all times for absolutely everything, not just the, "big stuff". While realizing that I rely on the Lord for everything I truly understood Philippians 4:11-13(KJV):

"Not that I speak in respect of want: for I have learned, in whatsoever state I am, therewith to be content. I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need. I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me."

Through this humiliation the Lord showed me how weak I really was. I understood that by myself I am nothing, but when I put Jesus first in my life, do what he wants me to do, and acknowledge that he is the only reason for my success and strength, then I am ready to move on to new challenges and more blessings, because now he has made me ready to handle them. Sometimes Jesus has to put something in our way to help us see/remember that he is in control and that we must keep Him first.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

A Bear in Wolf's Clothing?

Most of us are aware that the enemy will not present himself to us outright. Many times distractions to take our minds away from our Lord come through pleasurable people and activities. That's why we sometimes have a difficult time dealing with these situations because we say things like, "they would never hurt me" or, "how could this be bad?" Over time I think we learn to watch out for this kind of attacks. It is often called the, "Wolf in Sheep's Clothing" tactic. We learn to look out for people and try to assess true motives of "friends."

What about when we are provoked by someone/something who is just plain mean, rude, or nasty? A few weeks ago some folks that are apart of an organization I am in started treating me unfair. This bothered me tremendously. I noticed a clique consisting of certain individuals who were being unprofessional and very rude towards me; talking about me behind my back, criticizing my work unfairly, and pretty much just trying to make me look bad. When this first came to my attention I quickly came up with a plan. I was going to beat them at their own game.

Then the thought occurred to me of who I was really at war with. The same enemy that I am ALWAYS at war with. Not sometimes or most of the time, but ALWAYS. I hope my title is starting to make some sense. he doesn't always come disguised as something nice or sweet, sometimes it is ugly. So when people do those things that really just get to us, before we go off let's take a moment and remember who is really trying to upset us.... and why?

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Praying for Folks

Anybody that knows me knows that I talk about people all day, all day long. I like to laugh and that is one thing I do for fun. One night when me and my friends were just sitting back really going at it about someone whe we deemed as somewhat of a slacker the Lord spoke to me. He had me realize that if I prayed for the people I talked about a fourth as much as I talk about them now, most of them would be in better situations. All I could say was,"WOW" because I understood how true it was. Why am using the brain, mouth,voice, etc. that God gave me to down my fellow man when I could be using it to his glory by praying for his people and those who should accept him?

Something to think about: James 5:16(KJV) says "Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much."

Friday, February 6, 2009

Staying Strong

How come whenever we see someone going through we're the first to say, " don't worry everything will be just fine" or, "it's probably not even that bad," but as soon as the enemy starts to attack us its the end of the world? Whats important to realize at all times is that whatever is going on is much, much bigger than what we can see. You may see this world around you, but remember Ephesians 6:12(KJV)" 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" Everything we go through is a spiritual test, to show us our strengths/weaknesses and to make us stronger.

On top of top of that Romans 8:31 tells us"...If God be for us, who can be against us?" So with the ultimate power on our side we always know that we will come out on top. This is definitely one of those subjects where the phrase "easier said than done" is applicable. What is needed to stay strong in these rough times is faith. Later in the Ephesians 6 the verse 16 tells us," Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked."

Now faith like this just doesn't spring up, it takes work. We must immerse ourselves in Jesus: what we watch, listen to, think about, read, etc. In the third Psalm David says in verse 6" I will not be afraid of ten thousands of people, that have set themselves against me round about." If I was set in the middle of many enemies I dont know if could stand tall like David at this point in my life, but I can not imagine the peace he was feeling.

Phillipians 4 address peace, it says... well just go and read it for yourself.