Monday, August 22, 2011

Give Up Part 4: Do Something!


So we have delved into some of the consequences of sin. We understand now that not following God can only lead to more pain and confusion in your life. By now we should also realize that the only way to live a life that is pleasing to God (and fulfilling to us) is to let God renew your mind. The main focus this far has been feelings, but now let’s transition into action!

“God helps those who help themselves” is not in the Bible (I checked). However, there is something to this familiar saying. Dr. Charles Stanley puts it this way, “God is supernatural. If you take care of the natural, then God will handle the super.” What is he saying? God alone has the power to make the necessary changes in your life. But, there are some things you can start doing yourself. Such as:

You want to stop having sex, but you keep hanging around that person alone or late at night.

You claim a desire to know God more, but you don’t go to Bible study.

You want to give up a sinful lifestyle, but you don’t give up your sinful friends.

You want to know God’s will for your life, but you never pray.

You want a mind focused on God, but you won’t drop sinful influences.

I think you get the point.

A tutor does not go around making people take his help. No, he helps those who admit they need help and ask for help. And so it is with our God. He has the power to help us. He wants to make changes in our lives, but He did not create us as robots. We have a free will to do whatever we want. If we want Him to truly start working in our lives we must show Him that. Not just in our words, but in our actions too!

So….today make an action plan of how you are going to start working towards living a life that is more pleasing to God. For instance:

What can I start doing today?

Who can I talk to for guidance?

When is a good time I can set aside for prayer/meditation?

Don’t wait until tomorrow or the next day, because the devil is trying to destroy your life RIGHT NOW. Let me drive it home.

As long as your spirit life looks like this:

you will never get anywhere with God. Take some action today!


Meditation Scriptures:

Proverbs 21:21 (KJV)- He that followeth after righteousness and mercy findeth life, righteousness, and honour.

Matthew 7:24-27 (KJV) Jesus speaking- Therefore whosoever heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wise man, which built his house upon a rock:

And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell not: for it was founded upon a rock.

And every one that heareth these sayings of mine, and doeth them not, shall be likened unto a foolish man, which built his house upon the sand:

And the rain descended, and the floods came, and the winds blew, and beat upon that house; and it fell: and great was the fall of it

Prayer: Lord, help me. I need your guidance more than I can express. I want to be a better person. I want to be a deeper Christian, but I know I cannot do this alone. Give me the strength to drop sinful influences and people in my life. Give me the strength to seek righteous influences and people for my life. Let Your Spirit cover my mind so that I can make a plan to serve You more. You have all the ability and the resources, Lord, but I must take the first steps. Give me strength to ignore other people’s opinions and comments, Lord, but to solely focus on You. You are the Rock I must stand IF I want true success in this life and the one to come. I know that it is time for action. In Jesus’ name,

Amen

Friday, August 12, 2011

Give Up Part 3: New Mind

So last week we looked at some of the consequences of drifting away from God. When our relationship with God is distorted we become immersed in feelings of confusion, loneliness, and continued pain. As long as one does not have a right relationship with God, these feelings will persist. Notice that all these things have an effect on the state of mind one is in. Why is this so? The farther you are from God, the more cluttered your mind will be. Therefore, your life will be worse as well.

So what is the next step in getting back in God’s will? Letting him renew your mind. Let’s look at Romans 12:2 (KJV)

And 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.

Paul here is talking to a group of Christians. If we want to walk in God’s will for your lives we must not be conformed to this world. Conform basically means “follow the crowd” or just doing what everyone else is doing; which we have already determined leads to more and more pain. God, on the other hand, is the only One who can transform us. Transform literally means to alter, change, or convert. Through Christ, God can actually change your mind. He can give you a new mind. The Bible tells us that anyone who is in Christ is made new and old things are passed away (2 Corinthians 5:17). We are also told that we are dead to sin and alive through Christ (Romans 6:11). Just as Christ literally died and rose again, the Christian is literally dead to sin and can have a new life through Jesus’ power.

Someone out there is spiritually exhausted because you have been trying to do this alone. You can’t change your actions because your mindset is still the same. You don’t have the power to change your mind. Only God can give you the new mind that you need to focus on Him and follow His will. First you have to know Jesus personally. After that, however, there is an opportunity to know God intimately. God can make you new, brand new, but you have to step back and let Him work.


Meditation Scriptures

Psalm 139:23-24 "Search me, O God, and know my heart: try me, and know my thoughts:And see if there be any wicked way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting."

Colossians 3:1-4 "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ sitteth on the right hand of God. Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth. For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory."

*Think about how these apply to you*

Prayer

God, I come to You confessing that I have been trying to succeed by myself. I can’t take it anymore. I need help, Lord. I need you. Please search my heart and mind to help me see what areas of my life are unclean. Not only that Lord, help me eradicate these unclean areas. I don’t want ANYTHING in my life that is not pleasing to You. Renew my mind, Lord. Help me to study Your Word and talk to You all throughout the day. Let my mind be new so that my actions will follow and I can please You.

~Amen

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Give Up Part 2: Confusion

OK so the other day I hit on three feelings that usually arise when we are out of God’s will. They are feeling hurt, unappreciated, and lonely. You may or may not agree with that (although I know it is true). There is another feeling that is sure to arise if you are out of God’s will, and that is




Confused means perplexed, disoriented, zigzag, or mixed up. Synonyms include chaotic, cluttered, messy, and upside-down. If you don’t have a right relationship with God, then this is you!

Don’t believe me? Ask yourself:

When was the last time I felt God speaking to me?

Do I have any real peace in my life?

Are my thoughts clear? Do I have any peace of mind?

Do I have any clue where I am going in life?

If your relationship with God is hindered, chances are you feel something like this

LOST

As long as you continue life the way you are going nothing will change (wait, things may get worse). So how do we get back into walking in God’s will? Well it starts with the basics. Many of us want God to show us the specifics of our life plan when we won’t even follow what we already know. Just think about the scriptures that most people can quote. Do we really live by them?

Do you trust the Lord with all of your heart? (Proverbs 3:5-6)

Do you study your Bible so that you will be effective for God’s use? (2 Timothy 2:15)

Do you carry yourself as Christ’s ambassador? (2 Corinthians 5:20)

When you know you have done wrong do you stay in it or confess your sins so you can move on? (1 John 1:9)

When was the last time you shared with someone how they can be saved? (Romans 10:9)

Plain and simple: God will not let you advance to Trigonometry if you will not take the time to learn your times tables. He won’t show you the deep things because you are not able to handle them. As long as you keep living your way you and God will never be able to truly connect. You can be saved (praise God), but you will never know Jesus Christ intimately. It starts first with confessing you are a sinner and accepting Him into your life. THEN, you must work with Him to cultivate that relationship.

You can't move in the right direction, until you get back on the right path!

Meditation Scripture: “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths.”~ Proverbs 3:5-6

I know you can quote this scripture, but don’t just recite it, THINK ABOUT IT. How does it apply to your life? Do you trust God fully? If not, how can you do better?

Prayer: Lord, I am confused and I need help. I am recognizing right now that I have been drifting away from You. I’m sorry Lord. I know You love me Lord and Your arms are open wide waiting for me to run back to You. I’m asking You right now for strength and discipline. Renew in me the desire to study the Bible and follow Your commands. Help me to take time to meditate (think) on what scripture is really saying to me. Help me make time to pray to You all throughout the day. Help me to learn how to follow You and nobody else. I love you Jesus. In Your name I pray, Amen.

picture courtesy of stephaniemoss.com