Posts belonging to Category Christian Success



Squander or enjoy: Refuse or accept

Enjoy or squander your health

Enjoy or squander your health

It was a nice day weather wise recently. I had several choices of how to spend the day. I am going to focus on two of them.

God has blessed me with good health. On this day, I had to choose what I would do with the gift of health God has given me. I chose to enjoy it by riding my bicycle. It is an activity I enjoy and it has an added benefit of keeping me in good health.

I could have, instead, taken the car to the beach with a tub of ice cream and box of cookies and brownies. It would have satisfied several of my physical cravings, but it would have put a lot of sugar and fats into my body that would not have done me good. It might have been okay in terms of my overall health to indulge for one day, but it would have been a step backward.

It’s funny how that works. We decide to eat something that is not necessarily good for our health and to skip an exercise routine for a day, then it gets easier to do it the next day and the next and the next.

The physical changes in our bodies are slow and gradual. So slow, that we don’t perceive them when we glance in the mirror. We don’t notice that we are climbing stairs slower. Somehow, though we look in the mirror everyday, we never noticed that our face went from long and thin to round. We kid ourselves that our clothes must have shrunk in the drier. We tell ourselves and others that we are in shape, because round is a shape. Sadly, we chose to squander our health and we pay the price in medications and doctor visits and the inability to enjoy life fully.

I had another choice that day. I was given an offer by a local theme park to experience one of their paid attractions for free. Because it has always interested me, I decided to go. The choice was simple. Accept the invitation by printing out their offer on my computer, take it to them, and enjoy the ride or refuse the offer and stay home.

On a mock Serengeti safari. The rhino is real.

On a mock Serengeti safari. The rhino is real.

God gives us a choice with our lives as well. He offers us the opportunity to accept His Son, Jesus as our Savior. It is an open invitation and written in the Bible. My theme park offer was good until the end of the month. I knew when the month ended and I went before the offer expired. God’s invitation is available until the end of your life. The problem is you don’t know whether or not today will be the last day of your life or not. Most people do not know that when they awoke one morning, it would be their last day. This could be your last chance to accept Jesus.

I invite you to explore this site to get a free look at God’s spiritual laws and how Jesus can save you from an eternity in hell and give you an eternity with Him: http://www.crustore.org/fourlawseng.htm

If you have accepted Christ, you have a choice today. Will you enjoy your gift of salvation by spending time in prayer and reading the Bible or will you squander today by doing other things that please your flesh and damage your spiritual life? Just like with skipping physical exercise, it’s easy to get into a daily routine of not reading your Bible and spending time in prayer. The changes are gradual. You don’t notice your faith faltering and your desire to sin grow. You pay the price when trials come with panic and fear.

The choices are  yours.

How to turn your life around… in 7 days

Happy new month!

I thought it might be great to kick off March with something that I am not sure a lot of Christians intentionally action. No gimmicks in that title – yes, it really is how to turn your life around in 7 days!
To be honest, it’s how to turn around ANY situation in your life around in 7 days! To help bring this all into perspective, I will use 3 scriptures to explain how I did the same for myself a few years ago and how it has continually worked for me. Consider the following:
“For the word of God is living and effective and sharper than any double-edged sword, penetrating as far as the separation of soul and spirit, joints and marrow. It is able to judge the ideas and thoughts of the heart.”
(Hebrews 4:12 – HCSB)
“They conquered him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony,
for they did not love their lives
in the face of death.”
(Revelation 12:11 – HCSB)
“…and whenever you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear this command behind you: “This is the way. Walk in it.”
(Isaiah 30:21 – HCSB)
PRETEXT:
The year was (early) 2010 and I was made redundant from a job I had grown to thoroughly dislike. For the next 5 and one half months, I was unemployed and became deeply unhappy with myself (some might say I had depressive traits). I signed on to JSA (Job Seeker’s Allowance) late and that process helped to further diminish my alread low self valuation – bad times.
Then it happened – one morning, while praying and reading The Word (more reading than praying – let’s just say meditating), I heard an instruction – clear and impressionable. To paraphrase, it said:
“Tomorrow morning, wake up and get ready like you’re going to work, then go to the computer and apply for jobs.”
Very bizarre in my opinion but what do I know? I was becoming desperate and I didn’t like the recluse I was becoming – it was a harbinger of dark things to come so I did the only sensible thing I could – I obeyed.
The night before, I ironed my clothes, polished my shoes and prepared my bag and in the morning, I got ready like I was going to work and was ready in time to catch my former train.
CONTEXT:
Those instructions came while I was studying The Word and with that revelation (Rhema) came my breakthrough. One of the jobs I applied for that morning was chasing me the following Friday for my signature on my employment contract. So,… how does this relate to me I hear you ask?
Let’s go back to those 3 scriptures I shared earlier. Understanding them are critical to any type of breakthrough one expects.
DEFINING THE PROBLEM:
The biggest issue many of us have is that we struggle to examine a problem in light of The Word of God. The book of Hebrews teaches us that The Word is “living and effective“.
Whatever your situation is, The Word of God contains the life force within it to address your situation – permanently. The question is: “Are you looking at your problem in light of God’s Word?
ADDRESSING THE PROBLEM:
When we’ve spent time in The Word, seeking a solution, I GUARANTEE that the revelation that comes will deliver the command you have been waiting for, the one that says: “This is the way. Walk in it.
The key, however, is to seek with your heart. SEARCH The Word with your problem in heart as it would be.
SOLVING THE PROBLEM:
I love this one because this is the part that a lot of Christians don’t often get taught [in my experience].
“They conquered [overcame] him
by the blood of the Lamb
and by the word of their testimony”
The blood is already yours – Christ made sure of that so your overcoming is half complete by the time you begin. The word of your testimony – that’s entirely you! This faith is such a dynamic and participatory belief system that it still baffles me that God entrusts so much to us when He is so able(!)
So, what do you with testimonies? You WEILD them – yes, like weapons! You don’t overcome by being passive and the blood of The Lamb is indeed a weapon – a mighty one at that (2Cor. 10:4).
Every testimony you hear is an extra weapon to your arsenal. Like my Pastor likes to say, “You have the right to replicate any testimony you hear.”
If you want to solve your problem(s) and turn your life around in 7 days (or any time frame you so desire), the steps are not difficult:
EMBRACE The Word
ENGAGE your problem(s)
EXPECT the change
I have given you my testimony as an item in your starter pack. I can promise you that when you begin to see testimonies as the weapons that they are and you engage chapter & verse [The Word] to activate them in your life,  your overcoming is but a short while away.
You can catch me a bit more frequently at www.femitaiwo.com
Always remember: God is on your side. He wants you to win.

Take One Day at a Time…

Take one day at a time.Consider what God has done: Who can straighten  what he has made crooked? When times are good, be happy; but when times are bad, consider this: God has made the one as well as the other. Therefore, no one can discover anything about their future. Ecclesiastes 7:13-14

Since no one knows the future, who can tell someone else what is to come? As no one has power over the wind to contain it, so no one has power over the time of their death. Ecclesiastes 8:7-8a

Jesus said, Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own. Matthew 6:34

Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid. John 14:27

What, then, shall we say in response to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? Romans 8:31

AMEN!!!

www.nuggetsofwisdom.us … spread the Word

LORD spoke out of the storm

The first part of the book of Job we find God talking to Satan. God shows Satan there is no one like Job who is blameless and upright. So, God gives Satan permission to test Job without killing him. Satan then, takes from Job all his wealth from camels, donkeys, oxen, servants, and children. In all these things Job did not sin. Eventually the Lord allows Satan to touch the skin of Job; with painful sores from the top of his head to the soles of his feet. In Job’s suffering three friends come to counsel him to repent because clearly he has sinned.

Job’s friends came over to sympathize and comfort him. When they saw him from a distance, they could hardly recognize him; they began to weep aloud, and they tore their robes and sprinkled dust on their heads. Then they sat on the ground with him for seven days and seven nights. No one said a word to him, because they saw how great his suffering was. (Job 2:11-13)

Now, can you imagine being with your best friends who believe you have sinned because you have lost everything. Now compound it with painful sores all over your body and they come to counselor you. How well would you survive without telling your dear friends to leave? Job in his dialogue to his friends is grieving his lost and wishing he was never born (Job 3:1); actually he curses the day he is born. How, well would we do in the same situation if roles were reverse? Painful sores all over your body or imagine and all day migraine, can you imagine how you would feel about your best friends; thinking they know you best. Memory of my last terrible migraine I pray to the Lord for relief and begged if he could heal me; but then I am a woman in today’s times with Midol. Job lived in the times with natural remedies and traveling doctors I would think. Pain was a natural part of life and you probably grew another heart to deal with family and friends.

Job’s dialogue with his friends took him too many speeches but one speech stuck with me and it was his search for the LORD.

Have you every travel on a road that never got you to where you wanted to go? Each road you took ended as a dead end and you began so frustrated that you just want the day to end.  You’d cried and begged what am I doing wrong Lord?  I’ve gone over and over the directions but I am still lost. What’s the next step? This is a vivid picture of Job’s struggle to get through to the LORD. Job says “If only I knew where to find Him (LORD); if only I could go to His dwelling!” (Job 23:3) Does this sound familiar to you? Have you ever found yourself in Job’s place where everything is falling down and you do not know why? What have I done wrong? The Lord says in His word “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways,” declares the LORD. “As the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts.” (Isaiah 55:8-9)

What we think should be happening is different from what the Lord wants to have happen in our life. You can wrestle with Him over each direction in your life or just give in to His prompting. Job’s life is critical and going forward he began to seek God in a real way instead of just following the rules or laws of the land.

In my life right now if I do not hear from the Lord I seek Him with all my heart, soul and mind I do not settle for less. Many in the Bible also sought the LORD when they needed Him.

King David cried out to the Lord in his state of need in Psalms.

O God, you are my God. At dawn I search for you. My soul thirsts for you. My body longs for you in a dry, parched land where there is no water. ((Psalms 63:1)

Job cries from his very soul “If only I knew where to find him; if only I could go to his dwelling. But if I go to the east, He is not there; if I go to the west, I do not find Him.” (Job 23:3, 8)

Wisdom tells us: I love those who love me, and those who seek me find me. (Proverbs 8:17)

The LORD says of captives of sin: You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:13)

Jesus Christ sought His Father in the garden for help with His mission. (John 17:1-5)

What do these verses have in common? They all have a personal longing to know God in the most intimate form. For why would we seek if it is not to connect to something more powerful them us. The scriptures point us to a relationship with God. David and Job are seeking with all their heart to know God in an intimate union. They are both looking to God for their deliverance instead of themselves. Job was powerful and had all he needed and when he lost everything, he sought God but he did not know where to find Him. When we lose everything do we know the way to the throne of God? Do we need a road map to get there?

The word says “If my people, who are called by my name, will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, then will I hear from heaven and will forgive their sin and will heal their land.’ (2Chronicles 7:14)

Job was seeking audience with the LORD: “When He is at work in the north, I do not see Him; when He turns to the south, I catch no glimpse of Him.” (Job 23:9)

The LORD is listening to Job for He has a reply.

For Job the LORD spoke out of the storm “Who is this that darkens my counsel with words without knowledge? Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. Where were you when I lay the earth’s foundations? Tell me, if you understand…” (Job 38)

When we are seeking the Lord in our pain we say things that come out of frustration and ignorance. God doesn’t mention Job’s lost because God is directing Job to His redemptive plan. “Where were you when I lay the earth’s foundation?” (Job 38:4) Job had no answers for God. Job listens on: “Do you know when the mountain goats give birth? Do you watch when the doe bears her fawn? So you count the months till they bear? Do you know the time they give birth? They crouch down and bring forth their young; their labor pains are ended. Their young thrive and grow strong in the wilds; they leave and do not return… (Job 39) Here God was showing our human limitations in this world to His omnipotent and all-knowing presence in our lives. Job sees that God is faithful in taking care of us and is humbled. God continues to draw Job “will the one who contends with the Almighty correct Him? Let him who accuses God answer Him!”

Then Job answered the LORD:

“I am unworthy ⎯ how can I reply to you? I put my hand over my mouth. I spoke once, but I have no answer ⎯ twice, but I will say no more.”

Job decided not to hold on to his belief that God has wronged him. “Know that God has wronged me and drawn His net around me… (Job 19:6-21)

Then the LORD spoke to Job out of the storm:

“Brace yourself like a man; I will question you, and you shall answer me. Would you discredit my justice? Would you condemn me to justify yourself? Do you have an arm like God’s, and can your voice thunder like his? Then adorn yourself with glory and splendor, and clothe yourself in honor and majesty. Unleash the fury of your wrath, look at every proud man and bring him low, look at every proud man and humble him, crush the wicked where they stand. Bury them all in the dust together; shroud their faces in the grave. Then I myself will admit to you that your right hand can save you. (Job 40:1-14)

God continues His argument that Job is only human and cannot save him or others. We are not spiritual beings that have magical powers to predict and conquer others on our own. God drew Job to show his mercy and grace. God’s love drew Job to find Him and listen to God’s truths in creation.

“Look at the behemoth, which I made along with you and which feeds on grass like an ox. What strength he has in his loins, what power in the muscles of his belly! His tail sways like a cedar; the sinews of his thighs are close-knit. His bones are tubes of bronze, his limbs like rods of iron. He ranks first among the works of God, yet His Maker can approach him with His sword…Can anyone capture him by the eyes, or trap him and pierce his nose?” (Job 40:15-24)

Who could possibly fight a behemoth which some say is a hippopotamus. Could we subdue such a creature on our own? No, then how can we assume that are right hand is like God’s; we can’t do anything without the Lord. We must trust the Lord that He knows what is best for us.

God continues to speak to Job in chapter 41 and Job replies in chapter 42 to the LORD:

“I know that you can do all things; no plan of yours can be thwarted. You asked, ‘Who is this that obscures my counsel without knowledge?’ Surely I spoke of things I did not understand, things too wonderful for me to know. You said, ‘Listen now, and I will speak; I will question you, and you shall answer me.’ My ears had heard of you but now my eyes have seen you. Therefore I despise myself and repent in dust and ashes.” (Job 42:1-6)

Job comes before the LORD humbled by God’s words and for the first time really sees God as a formidable adversary to have on his side. God draws Job and Job believes that God is all powerful and then he repents. Not only does he repent but he is given an opportunity to pray for his friends who gave wrong counsel. Job prays for his friends and then offers burnt sacrifices on their behalf. The LORD blesses the latter part of Job’s life more than the first. (Job 42)

Would you like to be a blessed people who through your struggles become victorious?

First see that we are a fallen people who through Adam and Eve were given the curse of sin that keeps us from finding (communion) with the Lord. God in His infinite wisdom devised a plan that would cancel our debt of sin. God sent His One and Only Son to earth to be born of a virgin so that He could grow up among us and then go and die on a cross carrying all our sins. Jesus Christ death and resurrection nullifies our sin and sets us free. The word says “For God so loved the world that He gave His One and Only Son, that whosoever believes in Him shall not perish but have eternal life.” (John 3:16) When you believe in the Lord the Lord will draw you to himself. You will begin to thirst and hunger for the word and through the scriptures the Lord will convict your heart of sin. Repentance will bring you into the throne room of God and there you will find the Lord and communion with Him.

Thank you, Lord that Job humbled himself before and Almighty God and found forgiveness. Thank you, Father that you drew Job to yourself and offered him mercy and grace instead of wrath. Thank you, Jesus Christ that your life represents hope and freedom from sin and opens the door to communication.

I pray for the unbelievers who do not call you ‘daddy’ who continue to withhold themselves from you; and say that their ‘arm is stronger’. I pray that you will have your way in their lives as you did with Job to bring them to submission under your authority. I pray that they, who have heard about you, will also see your overwhelming presence in their life. Make them lie down in green pastures; make them thirst and hungry for righteousness; and create in them a clean heart O God and renew a steadfast spirit within them. Do not cast them away from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from them. But, restore them, draw them and place within each heart a willingness to serve you. In Jesus Christ name; I pray. Amen.

 

 

 

 

 

 

5 Ways To Transform Your Bible Reading.

books

Guest Author: Jeffrey Perry

Author and founder of The True Vine

I currently lead a small group of men and women every Saturday night at 8 pm from my home. In my personal and observational experience, everyone places bias expectations on God’s Word when studied.  As an early Christian it may be for answers and guidance. As a Christian with a few miles under our belt it may be to find ways to practically apply God’s truths. In seasoned Christians, there is a switch that questions the Scriptures wholeness such as, “How does the cross relate to this?” Seeking and finding truth while questioning Scripture are excellent ways to approach the study.

Today I want to communicate 5 ways that have truly blessed and amplified my time in God’s Word.

1. The Spirit: We must remember it is not our word, it is His Word. 2 Timothy 3:16 “All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness. What mere arrogance it is to approach His word and not ask for His guidance and direction through prayer. That would be like hoping into a car not owned by us, locking out the owner and taking it where we wanted. It would be reckless and foolish to consider ourselves as arrived or mastered His living and active truth.

2. Setting: Retrieving the context: The best way to really appreciation and value something is to find out its worth. The quickest way to survey a book of the Bible is to research the who; what; where; and when. Visualizing the context paints a picture and allows for deeper understanding. For example; in my study of the book Obadiah, in verse 5 we read the phrase “If grape pickers came to you, would they not leave a few grapes?” What are they talking about? The context is much clearer after reading Deuteronomy 24:21. Many Bible scholars use the phrase, context is key to our understanding. Right understanding leads to right application.

3. Purpose: Did you notice I left out the “why” in retrieving the immediate context? I left it out, because the why is our second key to transform our Bible reading. The why is the purpose or motive behind the pen. Every time we communicate via audibly, nonverbal or written it has a purpose. I hope the purpose is clear in my writing today. The purpose is the bridge that ties the context to the application. The purpose can be found through word study and close observation. Turn to 1 John in your Bible. Go to chapter 2, can spot John’s purpose for the letter? Correct John 2:1 “My dear children, I write this to you so that you will not sin. But if anybody does sin, we have one who speaks to the Father in our defense, Jesus Christ, the Righteous One.” Understanding the purpose can shape and assist alongside the context.

4. Universal Truths: Once we grasp an understanding of the setting and purpose the Spirit begins to bring forth universal truths. I need to stop here and make a statement. To many people have bypassed numbers 1 & 2 and have jumped right to 3. I am not saying it can not be done, but I will say you are only shorting yourself and worse, could exposit a false understanding. James MacDonald from Harvest Bible Chapel say’s this, “Sit in the chair until the hard work is done.” If you don’t want to do the work, there are many pastors and teachers that have been called to do the work for you and spoon feed you God’s truth and desires. Allow 2 Timothy 2:15 to speak over all of us who go to God’s Word, “Study and be eager and do your utmost to present yourself to God approved (tested by trial), a workman who has no cause to be ashamed, correctly analyzing and accurately dividing (rightly handling and skillfully teaching) the Word of Truth.

5. Jesus as Center: The term is Christocentric, meaning to concentrate on the teachings of Jesus Christ. Our Lord teaches us how to interpret His Word in John 5:39 “You study the Scriptures diligently because you think that in them you have eternal life. These are the very Scriptures that testify about me.” Our Lord not only teaches us, but also gives us the example in Luke 24:27 “And beginning with Moses and all the Prophets, he explained to them what was said in all the Scriptures concerning himself.” If we do not culminate the setting, purpose and universal truths in and around the gospel it is mere history and moral-ism.

Thank you for your time and attentiveness. I hope this article benefited you, as well as given you some tools to place into your belt of truth. I encourage you to share ways God has shaped your  personal study of His Word. Any further questions or if you want to contact me personally my email address is ttvministry@gmail.com

Grace and peace.

 

Eyes That See…

Eyes that seeHe (God) said, “Go and tell this people: “‘Be ever hearing, but never understanding; be ever seeing, but never perceiving.’ Make the heart of this people calloused; make their ears dull and close their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts, and turn and be healed (saved).” Isaiah 6:9-10

Jesus said,  For this people’s heart has become calloused; they hardly hear with their ears, and they have closed their eyes. Otherwise they might see with their eyes, hear with their ears, understand with their hearts and turn, and I would heal them.’ But blessed are your eyes because they see, and your ears because they hear. Matthew 13:15-16

“All things have been committed to me by my Father. No one knows who the Son is except the Father, and no one knows who the Father is except the Son and those to whom the Son chooses to reveal him.” Then he turned to his disciples and said privately, “Blessed are the eyes that see what you see. Luke 10:22-23

Paul writes, For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal. 2 Corinthians 4:17-18

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, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. Philippians 3:13-14

AMEN!!!

Does your church teach this?

As I was reading an article the other day, I came across the teachings of a particular church. Here is what the author said:

My only view of life outside (my church) was that it was an orgy of sin. That absolutely everyone was bound for eternal damnation … The bottom line is that they think they, and only they, are God’s servants. God put them on this Earth to spread the Gospel … I thought I was one of the few people God had selected to be His own. I felt, in a sense, privileged that by the grace of God I was born into this family and believed I was handpicked to represent God …  I felt this way because that’s how my family raised me to feel … We were to be thankful we were chosen out of this corrupt and sinful generation while all others were blinded by the truth … I learned from a young age to push any “bad” thoughts to the back of my mind, as if those thoughts never existed. I also learned from an early age that these “bad” thoughts were not to be discussed openly for fear of public humiliation within the confines of the church … In the inner workings of the church, the same is true. The elders will find fault with a person, and when that situation is resolved to their satisfaction, they’ll scan the rest of the group in search of another insignificant issue with which to find fault and “correct.” They rebuke one another. I was told sometimes that to “rebuke” means to show honor. It also means to bring something to light and expose it, and shame the person into doing right.

It was fascinating because I had recently been engaged by a church group that taught their people many of the same things mentioned in the first few sentences and I would imagine (based upon what I was told about their methods of church discipline) , that to be a member of this group most likely meant its members experienced the same feelings as the author of this quotation wrote.

I can’t but help wonder if someone reading this right now would think, “Hey, that must be my church! And yes, that is what I believe and what we are taught!” If that’s the case, you may be a member of the Westboro Baptist Church – you know, the one that goes around the country and protests at military funerals? The article from which I quoted was written by a former member, Libby Phelps-Alvarez.

“No way! I am not a member of that group!” could be your response. “We are not like them!”

The question for you is, if you’re the only group that knows truth or you are the only group that God has chosen to represent Him, then why is it the Bible says, “Whosoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved,” and, “through His name whoever believeth in Him shall have remission of sins.” There are no exclusions that say you have to be a member of such and such organization. “Whosoever” and “whoever.” That includes you and it includes me. And you know what? It still includes you even if your church defellowships you or disenfranchises you or dechurches you or kicks you out or banishes you or whatever term they may use to mark you as unwanted and unwelcomed.

The reality is God has established our world so that we are to use our free will to accept or reject Jesus. He does not use coercion.  Coercion is what men use to maintain power and manipulate their followers.

The hard part of leaving your organization may be that it means to have your family and friends turn their back on you. Is it worth hanging in there and being emotionally abused? Is it worth it to live with someone or a group that teaches exclusiveness when the Bible doesn’t? Is it worth it to be with a group that teaches if you leave them, you will be damned when the Bible doesn’t? Does it make you wonder what else are they teaching that the Bible doesn’t?

If you are a member of an abusive ministry who threatens that you will suffer eternal damnation if you leave them, they are wrong. Regardless of what they threaten, Jesus will never leave you nor forsake you. That’s His promise. Want proof?  Read these Bible passages http://www.openbible.info/topics/i_will_never_leave_you_nor_forsake_you

It’s time to get out. It’s time to find people who love you because Jesus loves you and they accept you because Jesus accepts you and they teach from a trusted Bible translation.

Where do you go? The wonderful thing about God is if you truly want to know truth and you want to be in a church that teaches truth, all you have to do is ask Him in prayer to show you where He would have you worship Him and to teach you truth.

If you want more thoughts on this subject, I invite you to read:

Sometimes it’s about ego and power and not the love of Jesus

What does your church really believe?

Give me a mentor with scars

OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN

PART 1: “OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN, HALLOWED BE YOUR NAME” (Matthew 6:9)

We come to the first part of Christ’s instruction to His disciples and audience about prayer.  Let us review little bit about the previous text to get the context to lead us on our study.  In Matthew chapter 6, Jesus Christ is teaching his disciples and many people about wrong and right motives of giving, fasting, prayer, etc.  The common denominator among these three subjects is doing the act to glorify heavenly Father, not to receive praises from human beings.  There is a consistent phrase such as “And your Father who SEES IN SECRET will reward you” (Matt. 6:4; 6:6; 6:16)

Our heavenly Father does not have physical eyes to “see” because He is not a human being.  Therefore, when it talks about God the Father “SEES IN SECRET”, it is referring to omniscient.  By nature or essence, God the Father is omniscient and we can say that He “SEES IN SECRET.”  The word secret, in context, is referring to individual’s private space of prayer.  There is nothing secret to God because everything is naked before Him.   Interestingly, Jesus conveys the idea that people give and pray as performance before other people to gain satisfaction.  These people really think giving and praying privately are not rewarding.  They seek to care more about receiving respect from others than being alone with God the Father.

IN Matthew 6:8, Jesus Christ informs us that before we think, ponder, and ask anything, God the Father KNOWS our needs.  The idea of the Father knowing our needs before speaks of omniscience.  The point is manipulating appearances, prayers, and giving in attempt to get God to answer or bless us would not work.  Now let us approach the first part of prayer in Matthew 6:9.

 

“OUR FATHER IN HEAVEN, HALLOWED BE YOUR NAME” (verse 9)

Jesus Christ wants his audience to approach God as Father.  The term Father is not a name, but a title.  It means SOURCE.  Christ wants them to direct their prayers to the Father in heaven.  God the Father has established His throne in heaven and Jesus Christ directs prayers upward.  In the world, Jesus always directs His prayers to heaven.  So, He is teaching people to imitate Him.  The Source is in heaven.

Then, Jesus Christ informs us to worship, honor, and adore the NAME of our heavenly Father.  The Greek transliteration of the word NAME is called ANOMA.  It means Character or Authority.   The Father has ultimate authority; that is why Jesus instructs us to pray toward heaven to the Father.  Then, the character of God has to do with the nature or essence.  Some of the divine characters are omniscient, omnipotent, just, kind, love, etc.  I want to argue that Matthew 6:8 gives the context for the type of attribute Jesus is emphasizing here in the term NAME.  In verse 8, it indicates that God the Father is OMNISCIENT because He knows what our needs are before we think, ponder, and ask.  It follows that Jesus wants us to honor and glorify the NAME or Omniscience of the Father in verse 9.  There is nothing wrong with glorifying all the attributes of the Father.  But the context of the chapter seems to point to the omniscience of the Father.  Jesus is instructing us to direct our prayers to the Father in heaven, how the Father deserves to be honor because He is omniscient over all of our prayers.  This is comforting and encouraging because we do not need to impress or gain praises from others when we pray.  We need to know when we attribute the glory to the Father in our private prayers; we would be rewarded before God.

 

 

 

 

 

God is Our Strength…

God is our strengthPaul writes, Even if I should choose to boast, I would not be a fool, because I would be speaking the truth. But I refrain, so no one will think more of me than is warranted by what I do or say, or because of these surpassingly great revelations. 

Therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me. Three times I pleaded with the Lord to take it away from me. But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness. ”Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:6-10

Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day (by the living Word of God). For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. 2 Corinthians 4:16-17

Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. 1 Corinthians 16:13

I write these things to you who believe in the name of the Son of God so that you may know that you have eternal life. 1 John 5:13

AMEN!!!

*** Please pray with me for the healing of my dear friend Mary Stephens from “Right From The Heart Ministries”, Thank you! ***

Successful as a christian

What is being successful? How can we be successful? Isn’t that what all of us want? Don’t we all want to be happy and satisfied with what we reached in our lives? Yes we do! We want to be successful, happy and satisfied. But what does God say at this particular matter?

In Proverbs 16:3 the Bible says, “Commit your work to the Lord, and your plans will be established.” So basically you are saying we can do anything praise God for it and he will make it work? No I’m saying that if we commit our works to the Lord they will be established. Let me elaborate. Would you commit the work of Da Vinci to Obama? No You would not because they are Da Vinci’s works and Obama is totally unrelated to that. Well That’s how it is with committing your works to the Lord. You cannot commit something to the Lord if he would disagree with it.

How then would it make us successful in this world? It is not to make us successful in this world. As the earlier quoted verse says we commit our works to the Lord. We no longer do them for this world. We commit them to the LORD and not to this WORLD! So God shows us if it is successful. God doesn’t ask us if this qualifying or if this is successful in this world. It is not that if this world finds it successful that will satisfy my need of being successful. I read a book by Scott McKnight* that made a point out of happiness being fulfilled through being blessed. Right now I’m saying. Being successful is your work being blessed. In the sermon on the mount Jesus explains us who are blessed. Throughout the Bible he does explain us that being successful is following Him. Committing out work unto the Lord as it was His.

Hopefully this will make us all realize that we are not necessary to find recognition of our works by our friends and family. It is necessary to find recognition with God. If we can commit our works unto him we are successful. If we are successful in God’s eyes in whose are we not?

*Scott McKnight’s book titled “The Jesus Creed for Students”

Our Time on Earth…

Our Time on EarthA person can do nothing better than to eat and drink and find satisfaction in their own toil. This too, I see, is from the hand of God, for without him, who can eat or find enjoyment? To the person who pleases him, God gives wisdom, knowledge and happiness, Ecclesiastes 2:24-26a

Wisdom makes one wise person more powerful than ten rulers in a city. Indeed, there is no one on earth who is righteous, no one who does what is right and never sins. Ecclesiastes 7:19-20

It is because of him (God) that you are in Christ Jesus, who has become for us wisdom from God—that is, our righteousness, holiness and redemption.  Therefore, as it is written: “Let the one who boasts boast in the Lord.” 1 Corinthians 1:30-31

.. so that, just as sin reigned in death (eternal separation from God), so also grace might reign through righteousness to bring eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord. Romans 5:21

Therefore, there is now no condemnation (punishment) for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death. Romans 8:1-2

He has shown you, O mortal, what is good. And what does the Lord require of you? To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God. Micah 6:8

AMEN!!!

Victory in Christ Jesus

Victory in Christ JesusSee what great love the Father has lavished on us, that we should be called children of God! And that is what we are! The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him (Jesus)Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is (face to face). 1 John 3:1-2

And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body. Philippians 3:20b-21

I declare to you, brothers and sisters, that flesh and blood (our human bodies) cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable. Listen, I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep (die), but we will all be changed in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed. For the perishable must clothe itself with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality. When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.”  1 Corinthians 15:50-54

AMEN!!!

New Year

For some people year 2014 was filled suffering and loss. A year to forget. A year of sleepless nights, divorce and evictions. A year when their minds and outlook on life were in dark places. Jesus don’t want you to stay in dark places. Why? He wants you to have an abundance life, a hope and a future. Don’t sit there wishing the year 2015 away. You must seek His kingdom and all things shall be added unto you. You must spend time with Him in prayer and reading of the word. He has placed wise counsel around you, people who are willing to pray for you and to bring light in your dark world. Their experiences will support and guide you as you are an overcomer in Jesus. Jesus has overcome the world.
As we enter into the year 2015, we must remember who we are. We are children our the living God and we more than conquerors in Christ. Let us transform our minds and focus it on godly thoughts and fixed our eyes on Jesus who is the author and finisher of our faith. Don’t give up on your dreams. If they didn’t happen last year, they will happen this year. Don’t let fear have a foot hole in your life. Be bold and strong in the lord. If you are alive then God has a plan for you.

A waitress’ question about my marriage

We do things we enjoy together

We do things we enjoy together

I took my wife out to eat recently. When our waitress found out we were celebrating our anniversary, she asked what was the secret to our staying together for so long.  We talked about little things, like we each had our own tube of toothpaste so it didn’t matter whether one of us squeezed from the middle or from the bottom.  I also told her I didn’t care which way the toilet paper roll faced.  (Maybe that’s because we don’t have a cat.)

 

The main reason my wife and I have had a wonderful marriage is our relationship with God.  Because God is love and His Holy Spirit indwells us, then as long as we are right with Him, His love fills us and we are right with each other.

 

I think that is the reason we are both “low maintenance.”  I don’t need to have my way in everything. My wife doesn’t have to have expensive gifts for Valentines Day, her birthday, our anniversary, and Christmas.  The Bible says, “Let nothing be done through selfish motives or self-esteem, but in humbleness of mind let everyone consider others better than themselves. No one should look only to his own interests, but also to the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3-4).  I keep her interests in mind.

 

Similarly, I don’t have to win arguments. I work to avoid them.  The Bible teaches, “A soft answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger” (Proverbs 15:1). Winning an argument does nothing except tear at a marriage.  In the log run, it’s like winning the battle, but losing the war.  Sure, that means I have to swallow my pride or just walk away or just agree not to talk about a subject or agree to disagree and drop it, but my marriage is more important to me than winning an argument.

 

I do what I can to please my wife, to give her a sense of love, safety, and fulfillment.  The Bible shows us, “Husbands, love your wives, as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, that he might sanctify her, having cleansed her by the washing of water with the word, so that he might present the church to himself in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. In the same way husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one ever hated his own flesh, but nourishes and cherishes it, just as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and hold fast to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh. This mystery is profound, and I am saying that it refers to Christ and the church. However, let each one of you love his wife as himself, and let the wife see that she respects her husband”(Ephesians 5:25-33).

 

I don’t spend all of my free time watching sports.  She doesn’t spend all of her free time shopping. We do the things we enjoy together.  If we do an activity that one of us doesn’t enjoy or stresses the other one out, we don’t do it again.

 

Knowing the Bible says, “The rich rules over the poor, and the borrower is the slave of the lender”    (Proverbs 22:7), we paid off our house and car and stay out of debt.  If we can’t afford something we want, we do without it. If we do need to borrow for something big (like a car), we find the best interest rate and pay off the loan as quickly as possible.  We are frugal.  We price compare when shopping.  We don’t have to have the store brands.  We don’t need the latest electronic gizmo or the expensive entertainment packages or trendiest clothes.  We typically only eat out once a week.  We have nice things, but we don’t sacrifice for stuff that will just wear out and have to be thrown away.  Money problems is one of the biggest factors that lead to divorce.  We keep our marriage healthy by keeping our finances healthy.

 

That doesn’t mean that I never take the lead or that I do everything she wants or suggests.  God has given me another responsibility which I take very seriously, “For the husband is the head of the wife even as Christ is the head of the church, his body, and is himself its Savior” (Ephesians 5:23).  I listen to her advice and her suggestions, but I make the final decision based upon my experiences and the wisdom God has given me.

 

If I do find myself in an uncomfortable situation with my wife, I immediately pray and ask God to help me work through it.

 

I pray for my wife every day.

 

If you need Godly marriage counsel, I recommend the book Love Life for Every Married Couple by Dr. Ed Wheat. If you need help with your marriage, surrender all areas of your life to God.

Forgive

Forbearing one another, and forgiving one another, if any man have a quarrel against any: even as Christ forgave you, so also do you. (Colossians 3:13KJV)

Forbearing means showing patient and unruffled self-control and restraint under adversity; slow to retaliate or express resentment.ᶦ

Forgiving means providing absolution.²

Life is not fair when family fight against family but in all the fighting the scriptures tell us to show patience and restrain our resentment but to provide absolution to others. We need to provide a way out as the Lord did for us.

In the scriptures Jesus teaches us about the Parable of the Unmerciful Servant:

Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, “Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother or sister who sins against me? Up to seven times?”

Jesus answered, “I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times. “Therefore, the kingdom of heaven is like a king who wanted to settle accounts with his servants. As he began the settlement, a man who owed him ten thousand bags of gold was brought to him. Since he was not able to pay, the master ordered that he and his wife and his children and all that he had be sold to repay the debt.

“At this the servant fell on his knees before him. ‘Be patient with me,’ he begged, ‘and I will pay back everything.’ The servant’s master took pity on him, canceled the debt and let him go.

“But when that servant went out, he found one of his fellow servants who owed him a hundred silver coins. He grabbed him and began to choke him. ‘Pay back what you owe me!’ he demanded.

“His fellow servant fell to his knees and begged him, ‘Be patient with me, and I will pay it back.’

“But he refused. Instead, he went off and had the man thrown into prison until he could pay the debt. When the other servants saw what had happened, they were outraged and went and told their master everything that had happened.

“Then the master called the servant in. ‘You wicked servant,’ he said, ‘I canceled all that debt of yours because you begged me to. Shouldn’t you have had mercy on your fellow servant just as I had on you?’ In anger his master handed him over to the jailers to be tortured, until he should pay back all he owed.

“This is how my heavenly Father will treat each of you unless you forgive your brother or sister from your heart.” (Matthew 18:21-35)

For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. (Matthew 6:14)

“But if you do not forgive, neither will your Father who is in heaven forgive your transgressions.” Mark 11:26)

“Do not judge, and you will not be judged. Do not condemn, and you will not be condemned. Forgive, and you will be forgiven. (Luke 6:37)

We want to be right about everything even if we hurt others in the process. When we are convicted we still want to fight because it is the world’s way. But, we are not of this world the word says with all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love. (Ephesians 4:2) The word says Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart. Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will. (2Timothy 2:22-26)

Jesus Christ lay down His life for us in love. We did not know Him personally but without hesitation He walked down a long and winding road to die on a cross made out of wood for us. “He himself bore our sins” in his body on the cross. (1Peter 2:24a) Jesus Christ did this for us so we could be that debtor who needed to be given an absolution. Why would Jesus do this? So that we might die to sins and live for righteousness; “by his wounds you have been healed.” (1Peter 2:24b) The old plan of the law wasn’t working so God devised a new plan and Jesus Christ was born of woman, born under law, to redeem those under the law, that we might receive the full rights of sons. Because you are sons, God sent the Spirit of His Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Abba, Father.” So you are no longer a slave (to sin), but a son; and since you are a son, God has made you also an heir. (Galatians 4:4-7) This was the plan all along to forgive our sinful desires because we can’t forgive ourselves without Jesus Christ shred blood on a cross made with man hands. We needed a Savior to come and save us from our evil desires that were going to be disastrous and a bitter end to our existence. God’s love for His people outweighed any other plan but to send His Son for our sins.

We do not live under the law but we who call Jesus Abba, Father are forgiven. You, my brothers and sisters, were called to be free. But do not use your freedom to indulge the flesh; rather, serve one another humbly in love. For the entire law is fulfilled in keeping this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.” If you bite and devour each other, watch out or you will be destroyed by each other. (Galatians 5: 13-15) Don’t think because you have asked Jesus Christ into your life that you have a free pass to continue in your sin. The Lord has scriptures all over the Bible that talk of luke-warm Christians. ‘I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot; I wish that you were cold or hot. ‘So because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of My mouth.’ (Revelation 3:16) “A good tree cannot produce bad fruit, nor can a bad tree produce good fruit.  ”Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. “So then, you will know them by their fruits.… (Matthew 7:18-20) We are the tree that is planted in Christ who grows good fruit and we will be known by our fruit.

So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever you want. But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. The acts of the flesh are obvious: sexual immorality, impurity and debauchery; idolatry and witchcraft; hatred, discord, jealousy, fits of rage, selfish ambition, dissensions, factions and envy; drunkenness, orgies, and the like. I warn you, as I did before, that those who live like this will not inherit the kingdom of God. (Galatians 5:16-21) For if you are living according to the flesh, you must die; but if by the Spirit you are putting to death the deeds of the body, you will live. For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons of God. For you have not received a spirit of slavery leading to fear again, but you have received a spirit of adoption as sons by which we cry out, “Abba! Father!” (Romans 8:13-15) If you have not put to death your flesh and its desires you are not being led by the Spirit but are under the law. The Lord does not want us chained to the law but to be free as adopted sons to the King. Once you taste victory in Christ Jesus you will not want to live like a dead man but to live for Christ. Throw off the old man and live for Jesus Christ as a forgiven son of the Most High God.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. Against such things there is no law. Those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit. Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. (Galatians 5:22-26) This is what it looks like to walk in the Spirit: Love is patient, love is kind. (1Corinthians 13:4) Peace I leave with you (John14:27), forbearing one another (Colossians 3:13), showing kindness (2Samuel 2:6), full of goodness (Romans 15:14), true faith (3John 1:3), gentleness of tongue (Proverbs 15:4), and maintain your self-control (Acts 19:36).

If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar and His word is not in us. (1John 1:8-10)

What are the wages of sin? For the wages of sin is death, but the free gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Romans 6:23)

So, you see life without Jesus Christ is no life at all; it is death. But, if you ask for forgiveness in Him we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of His grace which He lavished on us. (Ephesians 1:7)

“Repent, and each of you be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins; and you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.” (Acts 2:38)

Thank you Father that you love us enough to send your son to be our deposit on a payment so that we can live free of sin. Thank you Jesus Christ that with this free gift you have given me a way out of my sins and all I have to do is say “Father, forgive me.”

Father, I pray for your people who are called by your name that they will turn back to you and be forgiven. I pray that you will keep watch over us and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood. (Acts 20:28) The Lord is my shepherd, I lack nothing. Let us lack no good thing in you. Provide your provisions each and every day Lord Jesus. Makes me lie down in green pastures, make me thirst and hungry for your word, make me have a relationship with my Father God so that you can lead me beside the quiet waters and restore my soul. Guide me along the right paths for his name’s sake. Guide me to church, guide me through the word, guide me to that right occupation, and guide me to a deeper knowledge of you. Even though I walk through the darkest valley, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me. Thank you, Lord through my relationship with you and the word, I am not alone you will never leave me. You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You prepare table in front of my unbelieving friends, family, and co-workers… You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows. Surely your goodness and love will follow me all the days of my life, and I will dwell in the house of the Lord forever. (Psalm 23) In Jesus Christ Name I pray. Amen.

 

ᶦhttp://www.thefreedictionary.com/forbearing
²http://www.thefreedictionary.com/forgiving