Have Your Friends Been Warned?

Have Your Friends Been Warned?

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Are you familiar with the phrase, “You’ve gotta take the bad with the good.”?

I think that’s just the way life is, isn’t it? There is always good news and bad news. I find the Bible to be much the same way. Consider this selection of verses:

1 John 5:  12 Whoever has the Son has life; whoever does not have God’s Son does not have life.

John 3:  18 “There is no judgment against anyone who believes in him. But anyone who does not believe in him has already been judged for not believing in God’s one and only Son.

2 Chronicles 15: 2b The LORD will stay with you as long as you stay with him! Whenever you seek him, you will find him. But if you abandon him, he will abandon you.

1 Chronicles 28: 9b If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.

Notice that each of these has the “good news” and the “bad news”.  Each passage contains 2 promises, one for the righteous and the other for the wicked.  Moses sang the same tune:

Deuteronomy 30: 15 “Now listen! Today I am giving you a choice between life and death, between prosperity and disaster.

It’s no wonder the Bible has lost its popularity.

In a day and age where the stories are sugar coated and most people are over-entertained, it doesn’t take long when reading the Word of God before it pierces your heart.

Paul has a great way of putting it, I’ll let him speak for himself:

Romans 11:  22 Notice how God is both kind and severe. He is severe toward those who disobeyed, but kind to you if you continue to trust in his kindness. But if you stop trusting, you also will be cut off.

In addition, Paul adds:

2 Corinthians 2: 15 Our lives are a Christ-like fragrance rising up to God. But this fragrance is perceived differently by those who are being saved and by those who are perishing. 16 To those who are perishing, we are a dreadful smell of death and doom. But to those who are being saved, we are a life-giving perfume.

As believers and ambassadors for God, we know we have a message to deliver. In a nutshell, it is this:

2 Corinthians 5: 20b We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!” 21 For God made Christ, who never sinned, to be the offering for our sin, so that we could be made right with God through Christ.

There is also a time to warn others.

Read these verses carefully:

Ezekiel 3:  20 “If righteous people turn away from their righteous behavior and ignore the obstacles I put in their way, they will die. And if you do not warn them, they will die in their sins. None of their righteous acts will be remembered, and I will hold you responsible for their deaths. 21 But if you warn righteous people not to sin and they listen to you and do not sin, they will live, and you will have saved yourself, too.”

I’m not necessarily saying that we need to be going around warning everybody, but when the time comes and the conversation moves toward death, “end of the world” scenarios, and future events, I’d like to think I’d have the courage to say something like “Get right with God, because judgment day is coming.”

And if they say “That’s just a ‘made up’ fable, the Bible has said it many years ago, it won’t happen” You can tell them:

2 Peter 3:  8 But you must not forget this one thing, dear friends: A day is like a thousand years to the Lord, and a thousand years is like a day. 9 The Lord isn’t really being slow about his promise, as some people think. No, he is being patient for your sake. He does not want anyone to be destroyed, but wants everyone to repent. 10 But the day of the Lord will come as unexpectedly as a thief. Then the heavens will pass away with a terrible noise, and the very elements themselves will disappear in fire, and the earth and everything on it will be found to deserve judgment.

Great explanation, isn’t it?

My point is that people need to hear the whole truth, which is not all “good news”. Let’s learn from the master Himself, this is what He had to say about the future:

Luke 17:  26 “When the Son of Man returns, it will be like it was in Noah’s day. 27 In those days, the people enjoyed banquets and parties and weddings right up to the time Noah entered his boat and the flood came and destroyed them all.

 28 “And the world will be as it was in the days of Lot. People went about their daily business—eating and drinking, buying and selling, farming and building—29 until the morning Lot left Sodom. Then fire and burning sulfur rained down from heaven and destroyed them all. 30 Yes, it will be ‘business as usual’ right up to the day when the Son of Man is revealed.

Here’s another warning Message from the Messiah:

Matthew 7:  21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’

Don’t you think it’s time to tell the truth?

“Dear God in heaven, may I say the words you give me to say. My friends need to know about the coming judgment and I don’t know how make it clear, will you help me warn them somehow? I never know what to say or when to say it, but I know that if you live in me that my words will be your words and I can rest in that. Thank you for saving me from the coming judgment. I pray that I can continue trusting in you so that you can use me to share this news with others. In Christ’s name, amen”

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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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He Loves Me... He Loves Me... (not?)

He Loves Me… He Loves Me…(not?)

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Does the title sound familiar? Of course, at least for some of you, I hope. In case you don’t, perhaps there are people reading this that are too young or from another culture that never heard it before.  I looked it up on Wikipedia and it seems to be of French origin.

Suppose a young girl daydreams about a boy, there is a simple game called “he loves me… he loves me not” which would determine whether the boy loves her or not. It is played by picking a daisy and then plucking the petals from it one by one. As each petal is removed the girl will say out loud “he loves me”, then the next petal is removed, “he loves me not”, next petal, “he loves me”, next petal “he loves me not” and so on until the last petal is picked which, whatever  phrase is recited, determines whether the boy loves her, or not. Suppose the last petal is “he loves me not”? Why she’d probably have to pick another daisy and try again. 🙂

Is it silly? Maybe, but cute.

Isn’t it nice to know that God always loves us and regardless of any “daisy game”, He still loves us?

But do we believe this? Day in and day out? Is this just intellectual knowledge of God’s Word or is it something that we know to be true in our hearts?

I think the greater understanding of His love for us is directly related to the less stress we have.

Here’s the real test:  Ask yourself these questions “Do I still worry?”, “Do I still have fear?” Or how about “When my bills are late, do I get anxious?”,  “Do I fear losing my job?”, “Do I worry about losing my home?”, “What do I worry about?”

If you said yes to any one of these that just means your normal. Everyone has fears and worries to various degrees. Although I believe this about people I’m convinced that that is not God’s plan for us.

Philippians 4: 6 Don’t worry about anything; instead, pray about everything. Tell God what you need, and thank him for all he has done.

Matthew 6:  34 “So don’t worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will bring its own worries. Today’s trouble is enough for today.

He tells us not to worry about anything! Are you kidding me?

At the heart of this, I believe that worry is simply a word to mean “lack of faith”.

Matthew 8: 26 Jesus responded, “Why are you afraid? You have so little faith!” Then he got up and rebuked the wind and waves, and suddenly there was a great calm.

Hebrews 11: 6 And it is impossible to please God without faith. Anyone who wants to come to him must believe that God exists and that he rewards those who sincerely seek him.

I’ve learned that as I grow spiritually, I worry less and less, and although I still struggle with it, this knowledge gives me hope. Meditating on both Philippians 4:6 and Mattew 6:34 as seen above, has been really good for me. God is telling me not to worry. Eventually, I finally started to say to God “OK Lord, if you say so.” and I am amazed at how effective it was to meditate on these verses.

Another verse that really disturbed me and was helpful in meditating on was this:

Psalm 112: 7
They do not fear bad news;
they confidently trust the LORD to care for them.

Who is “They” anyway and why wouldn’t they fear bad news, doesn’t everybody fear bad news? Can anyone relate to this? “They”, found earlier in the Psalm, is:

 1 Praise the Lord!
How joyful are those who fear the Lord
and delight in obeying his commands.

Some days I’ll tremble with fear and others I seem to be at peace. It is the days of fear that I’ve really learned to cling to Him and go to Him constantly. It is also in these days of unrest that I find myself doubting what I know to be true. Is God really going to rescue me? Does He really love me? What I find fascinating is that after a day of gloom I can pray to my God and the next day, with the same circumstances, He gives me a renewed sense of hope and peace. It’s as if to say “He really does love me!”.

1 John 4:  16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.

   God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them. 17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the day of judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.

 18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love.

I think perfect love should always be our goal; this would enable us to overcome fear. This makes sense since the greatest commandments are to love God with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and neighbors as ourselves.

Isn’t this great news? You see, He loved us first:

1 John 4:19 19 We love him, because he first loved us. (KJV)

Then He commands us to love Him back, for our own good, of course:

Deuteronomy 10: 13 And you must always obey the Lord’s commands and decrees that I am giving you today for your own good.

In the effort to love God and learning how to love Him; this is where true transformation really happens.

The more we understand God and the love He has for us the less fear we’ll have.

James 4: 8a Come close to God, and God will come close to you.

The closer God comes to you, the more you will realize just how much He loves you and your fears will start to fade away.

How do I grow spiritually and learn to love Him more?

  1. I read my Bible daily and follow a reading plan because I need one.
  2. I seek Him in prayer on an as needed basis(at least daily), telling Him about all my fears and asking Him to fill me with His Spirit and to teach me His ways. “Lord, how can I be one of those who doesn’t fear bad news? Please let that be said of me.”
  3. I regularly spend time in fellowship with believers discussing each other’s lives and focusing on the Word of God. In groups of 2-15 people (about 4-5 times a week)
  4. I read godly books. Personal biographies are great and those focused on spiritual growth.

Sermons at church and on the radio are great, but nothing beats “individual God time” and scriptural fellowship.

 Keep in mind that this is where I am now. When I first started to seriously seek God I read the Bible, prayed a little bit and met once a week with others. Since then my desire for fellowship grew and I find great enjoyment from these weekly meetings with the godly. The more I sought God, the more time I wanted to be with Him and His followers.

Will you join me on this journey to love Him more?

“Dear Lord, thank you for calling and loving me. I am so privileged to know you and have a heart for you. Will you help me know you better? Please help me to learn how to perfect my love and learn how to love you more. You have been so good to me and I thank you for what you’re doing today and in the future. In Jesus name, amen.”

 

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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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What Is Holding You Back?

What Is Holding You Back?

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Luke 2:49 49 And He said to them, “Why did you seek Me? Did you not know that I must be about My Father’s business?” (NKJV)

Last week I wrote about volunteering for service. On second thought, is it really volunteering? Forgive me for this great misunderstanding. Perhaps He is looking for volunteers for special assignments as was the case in Isaiah 6, but for the purpose of our discussion of general service to God, He’s given us a clear commandment:

Matthew 22: 37 Jesus replied, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ 38 This is the first and greatest commandment. 39 A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’

At this point when we willingly respond to His love and actively pursue Him we are only being obedient and doing what we are told.

Psalm 32:
8 The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.
I will advise you and watch over you.
9 Do not be like a senseless horse or mule
that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”
10 Many sorrows come to the wicked,
but unfailing love surrounds those who trust the Lord.

Jesus called it “My Father’s business”. Being a part of the “Body of Christ” is more than just being another family member. As anyone should know, when we grow up there are certain responsibilities that come along with being a family member. God’s family is no different!

Think of it as a business that is family owned and operated.

God is the Father/Proprietor and Jesus is the Son/Foreman or more commonly known as the Master. Then we have the Holy Spirit who is our assistant/Advocate and the angels have special roles such as messengers and guardians. Our title, at least the one that applies to all of us is Ambassador and we are joint heirs (Romans 8:17). I realize that some of us may wear many hats, but we are all Ambassadors.

2 Corinthians 5: 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”

I believe this role by itself if taken seriously, should have enough prestige and responsibility to make us excited about getting out of bed in the morning.

Those ambassadors in Washington D.C. have nothing on us. We are ambassadors of God Most High and we are joint heirs to His kingdom, so we should live the part.

Hebrews 3: 6 But Christ, as the Son, is in charge of God’s entire house. And we are God’s house, if we keep our courage and remain confident in our hope in Christ.

Hebrews 10: 35 So do not throw away this confident trust in the Lord. Remember the great reward it brings you! 36 Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.

Obedience starts by making a conscious decision to meet with Him daily.

If we want to work in this family business it is imperative that we spend regular time with the Master long enough to know what He likes and dislikes which helps us make godly decisions more frequently. It really is that simple. For example, we will learn that when we pray a prayer, such as this little gem, in the face of great enemies…

2 Chronicles 14: 11 And Asa cried out to the LORD his God, and said, “LORD, it is nothing for You to help, whether with many or with those who have no power; help us, O LORD our God, for we rest on You, and in Your name we go against this multitude. O LORD, You are our God; do not let man prevail against You!”

God listens and is willing to rescue us…

12 So the LORD struck the Ethiopians before Asa and Judah, and the Ethiopians fled. 13 And Asa and the people who were with him pursued them to Gerar. So the Ethiopians were overthrown, and they could not recover, for they were broken before the LORD and His army. And they carried away very much spoil.

Isn’t that an awesome prayer? Read it again. Here was a man that seemed to know his God and relied upon Him. They fought the Ethiopians in His name as we should be conducting our lives, in His name.

Here’s another example. We can learn a lot from these 3 verses:

Psalm 40
For the choir director: A psalm of David.
1 I waited patiently for the Lord to help me,
and he turned to me and heard my cry.
2 He lifted me out of the pit of despair,
out of the mud and the mire.
He set my feet on solid ground
and steadied me as I walked along.
3 He has given me a new song to sing,
a hymn of praise to our God.
Many will see what he has done and be amazed.
They will put their trust in the Lord.

The Lord heard his cry and helped Him immediately. Wait a minute, did I read that wrong? Oh yes, I got it wrong indeed, David waited patiently, and then the Lord turned to him. David was in despair, can you relate? Out of that despair, God lifted him out and gave him a new song to sing. How exciting is that?! Not only that but in the process “Many will see what he has done and be amazed. They will put their trust in the Lord.”

We must realize and embrace the fact that our service to Him starts with our character. God wants to first change us so that we can be like Christ on earth. Have you ever served in ministry with “Christian complainers”? It’s not fun, is it? I think God would rather have His complainers go home than be poor examples and spoil others.

Numbers 14: 29 You will all drop dead in this wilderness! Because you complained against me, every one of you who is twenty years old or older and was included in the registration will die. 30 You will not enter and occupy the land I swore to give you. The only exceptions will be Caleb son of Jephunneh and Joshua son of Nun.

Judges 7: 3 Therefore, tell the people, ‘Whoever is timid or afraid may leave this mountain and go home.’” So 22,000 of them went home, leaving only 10,000 who were willing to fight.

The Owner is very particular about how things operate so He gave us quite a large Employee Manual in order that we can have knowledge and understanding of His business.

Just like any other family run business, it is crucial to know all we can so that we can be successful and please the Owner.

Joshua 1: 8 Study this Book of Instruction continually. Meditate on it day and night so you will be sure to obey everything written in it. Only then will you prosper and succeed in all you do.

This is getting on the Boss’s good side, what happens when we don’t put the effort in to know about His business:

Hosea 4:
6 My people are being destroyed
because they don’t know me.
Since you priests refuse to know me,
I refuse to recognize you as my priests.
Since you have forgotten the laws of your God,
I will forget to bless your children.

This is quite sobering, isn’t it?

I think it is very important to keep these words from our Master in mind which tend to put things into perspective:

John 6: 27 “Do not work for the food which perishes, but for the food which endures to eternal life, which the Son of Man will give to you, for on Him the Father, God, has set His seal.” (NASB)

Will you join me in His on the job training program?

“Dear Lord and Master, thank you for hiring me. I pray that I will show myself to be a faithful and trustworthy servant. Please help me to speak good words, not worthless words so that I might influence others and not be influenced by them. Give me endurance Lord, so that I might not get faint or grow weary. Help me to make better choices so that I can wisely put your business first, which leads to eternal rewards. Great and marvelous are thy works, Lord and God Almighty; just and true are thy ways O Lord, for you are the King of Saints. I am humbled before you and at your service. In Jesus name, I pray, amen.”

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Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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What Have You Been Called To Do?

What Have You Been Called To Do?

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God had it all set up. Long ago, some 400 years prior to the exodus God let Abraham in on His plan to have His people sent to Egypt for 400 years of slavery.

Genesis 15: 13 Then the LORD said to Abram, “You can be sure that your descendants will be strangers in a foreign land, where they will be oppressed as slaves for 400 years.

Over 400 years go by and sure enough, the Israelites have been in bondage long enough, so they cry out for God’s help. It’s time for the big event. The plan that was devised so long ago was ready to happen. But wait, what’s missing? God’s ambassador to the Egyptian Pharaoh, of course. His plan includes a key person to go before Pharaoh to request that the slaves be set free. It’s now time to call him into action…

Exodus 3: 1 One day Moses was tending the flock of his father-in-law, Jethro, the priest of Midian. He led the flock far into the wilderness and came to Sinai, the mountain of God. 2 There the angel of the LORD appeared to him in a blazing fire from the middle of a bush. Moses stared in amazement. Though the bush was engulfed in flames, it didn’t burn up. 3 “This is amazing,” Moses said to himself. “Why isn’t that bush burning up? I must go see it.”
4 When the LORD saw Moses coming to take a closer look, God called to him from the middle of the bush, “Moses! Moses!”
“Here I am!” Moses replied.

You can almost see the expression on his face when he says “Here I am!”. So far so good, God got his attention. But what happens when Moses is told to actually do something?

10 Now go, for I am sending you to Pharaoh. You must lead my people Israel out of Egypt.”
11 But Moses protested to God, “Who am I to appear before Pharaoh? Who am I to lead the people of Israel out of Egypt?”

As if a burning bush is not enough!

In spite of seeing God’s miracle and being addressed directly by the Angel of the Lord, He questions his Creator.

God responds…

12 God answered, “I will be with you. And this is your sign that I am the one who has sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God at this very mountain.”

OK, fair enough? Not quite. Even after getting all his objections and questions answered, Moses still doesn’t want to participate…

Exodus 4 10 But Moses pleaded with the LORD, “O Lord, I’m not very good with words. I never have been, and I’m not now, even though you have spoken to me. I get tongue-tied, and my words get tangled.”
11 Then the LORD asked Moses, “Who makes a person’s mouth? Who decides whether people speak or do not speak, hear or do not hear, see or do not see? Is it not I, the LORD? 12 Now go! I will be with you as you speak, and I will instruct you in what to say.”
13 But Moses again pleaded, “Lord, please! Send anyone else.”

Moses is still unwilling!

In other words, “You got the wrong guy, Lord!”. If I was reading this story for the first time I would think that God would go to His plan B, right? But God doesn’t have a plan B. Instead, God offers to send his brother Aaron as well and that was that, done deal.

14 Then the LORD became angry with Moses. “All right,” he said. “What about your brother, Aaron the Levite? I know he speaks well. And look! He is on his way to meet you now. He will be delighted to see you.

I think that is a beautiful way to make everybody happy. God gets His man, Moses’ gets to work alongside his brother, and Aaron gets a role in the plan and works with his long-lost brother. My friends, only God can do this and Israel is saved as a result!

This is just one example of a person being drafted into service, but I also think God asks for volunteers:

Isaiah 6:  8 Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?”
I said, “Here I am. Send me.”

At this point, God was no stranger to Isaiah as Moses was initially and by this time Isaiah was ready. He enlisted himself and became willing. When the time came for an assignment, Isaiah was ready. What’s important to note, however, is that Isaiah prepared his heart for this.

God is still looking for volunteers.

He does not overemphasize this in His Word because He wants us to seek Him and learn how to love Him so that it is purely voluntary on our part. He doesn’t want you to work for him if your heart isn’t into it. What kind of witness is that anyway?

2 Chronicles 16: 9 The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.

You see? He’s ready to give you strength when you commit yourself to Him!

What assignment does He have? Here’s an example of what I would consider His universal work:

John 4: 34 Then Jesus explained: “My nourishment comes from doing the will of God, who sent me, and from finishing his work. 35 You know the saying, ‘Four months between planting and harvest.’ But I say, wake up and look around. The fields are already ripe for harvest. 36 The harvesters are paid good wages, and the fruit they harvest is people brought to eternal life. What joy awaits both the planter and the harvester alike! 37 You know the saying, ‘One plants and another harvests.’ And it’s true. 38 I sent you to harvest where you didn’t plant; others had already done the work, and now you will get to gather the harvest.”

Jesus was always about His Father’s business, as should we.

Here we read that His workers are paid good wages and much joy awaits.

Here is a clear message that God is looking for more volunteers:

Matthew 9:37 He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few. 38 So pray to the Lord who is in charge of the harvest; ask him to send more workers into his fields.”

“The harvest is great”

So “wake up and look around” as Jesus says here. Do you see people in bondage? Do you see the hurt and the needy? How about the spiritually lost? Do you think perhaps, with the knowledge and passion that God has put in your heart, that He’s called you to be a part of His grand plan?

Some of you may already be participating and acting on His instructions while others may be clueless as to what God’s called you to do. Perhaps God has already called you to get involved with a ministry found in your church bulletin or maybe He wants you to start a new one. This is between you and Him and don’t let anyone tell you what you should be doing for God unless He’s already told you.

1 Kings 13:  23 After the man of God had finished eating and drinking, the old prophet saddled his own donkey for him, 24 and the man of God started off again. But as he was traveling along, a lion came out and killed him. His body lay there on the road, with the donkey and the lion standing beside it. (Read the entire chapter to understand the context.)

The key is to be able to hear God’s voice and respond to Him. If you make yourself available to Him consistently over time, you will learn to hear His voice and He will give you work to do.

This isn’t a science.

It is simply an effort on your part, devotion if you will, to seek your Creator in such a way that He becomes your closest friend and the one person you learn to rely on the most. If He is not already, then you are not a true disciple.

Luke 14: 26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison–your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters–yes, even your own life. Otherwise, you cannot be my disciple.

 If you are not giving God a chance to speak to you or you are not available to Him through reading His Word, praying and regular fellowship, then you are not even in the game. You would be on what I call the “Inactive Reserve” list. To me, this is being apathetic, complacent, or indifferent to God. Perhaps this list would be compared with those described in Revelations 3:15-16. Please do not be associated with those people.

Psalm 105
4 Search for the Lord and for his strength;
continually seek him.
5 Remember the wonders he has performed,
his miracles, and the rulings he has given,
6 you children of his servant Abraham,
you descendants of Jacob, his chosen ones.

Are you ready to be called?

Will you pray this psalm with me?

Psalm 26, A Psalm of David.
1 Declare me innocent, O LORD,
for I have acted with integrity;
I have trusted in the LORD without wavering.
2 Put me on trial, LORD, and cross-examine me.
Test my motives and my heart.
3 For I am always aware of your unfailing love,
and I have lived according to your truth.
4 I do not spend time with liars
or go along with hypocrites.
5 I hate the gatherings of those who do evil,
and I refuse to join in with the wicked.
6 I wash my hands to declare my innocence.
I come to your altar, O LORD,
7 singing a song of thanksgiving
and telling of all your wonders.
8 I love your sanctuary, LORD,
the place where your glorious presence dwells.
9 Don’t let me suffer the fate of sinners.
Don’t condemn me along with murderers.
10 Their hands are dirty with evil schemes,
and they constantly take bribes.
11 But I am not like that; I live with integrity.
So redeem me and show me mercy.
12 Now I stand on solid ground,
and I will publicly praise the LORD.

 Can I get an AMEN?

Photo by Adam Smith on Unsplash

 

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If you desire a closer walk with Jesus, just want more fellowship or “Bible Time” come join us at TheBibleTeam.com. We have weekly calls where our sole focus is spending time in God’s Word.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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What Matters Most To You?

What Matters Most To You?

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Would you like to simplify your life and find greater satisfaction?

One thing that I admire about Jesus’ time here on earth is that He was laser focused. Nothing seemed to deter Him from His mission. He always knew what to do and what to say.

John 8:  28 So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will understand that I AM he. I do nothing on my own but say only what the Father taught me. 29 And the one who sent me is with me—he has not deserted me. For I always do what pleases him.”

I love that last sentence “For I always do what pleases him. ” Wow, I wish I could say that about myself, how about you? It is so easy for me to get distracted and eventually I find myself thinking, “Why am I watching this show?” or “How have I allowed myself to waste the last hour of my life reading a meaningless news article or just ‘spacing out’?” I know that I am not perfect and that I’ll always fall short in one way or another, but the more I’ve gotten to know God the more I’ve valued my time and realized that it is our most precious asset.

Our lives are so short and we can never get time back when it’s gone.

Psalm 103:
15 Our days on earth are like grass;
like wildflowers, we bloom and die.
16 The wind blows, and we are gone—
as though we had never been here.

I’d like to discuss some ways that might simplify our lives when it comes to making decisions. As true believers in God and in His Son, shouldn’t our main focus in life be on pleasing Him and spending eternity with Him? If this is true, then read how Jesus simplifies things for this expert:

Luke 10:  25 One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?”
27 The man answered, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
28 “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!”

Can you imagine the expression on the expert’s face when Jesus gave him such a simple solution to this most important question? “Say what?, are you serious?” is what I think he thought to himself. But Jesus was serious. Of course, these are the two greatest commandments as found in Matthew 22:36-40 and Mark 12:30-31. That makes sense, doesn’t it? Focus on the two greatest commandments and we’ll be OK.

Although I’ve known these commandments, up until recently I never really knew how to love God, much less with my whole being.  Now the question becomes “How do I love God?”

How do we love anyone?

Hosea 6:
6 I want you to show love,
not offer sacrifices.
I want you to know me
more than I want burnt offerings.

 By getting to know them.

This is especially true with God. You know how there are certain people that the more you get to know them, the less you like them? That’s because you don’t see their true personality and character through a façade and all it takes is a brief look behind the curtain and their true essence appears.

But isn’t that each one of us? We put on our prettiest face and best manners in public, but behind closed doors, we may say and do things that we’d rather most people not know about.

This is not the case with God.

To know God is to love God.

The more I seek Him, read about Him, and know about Him the more I am in total awe of Him. I can’t help but love Him because of all the good things I’ve realized that He has done for me. He loves me so much that it’s really not fair. I have nothing to offer Him but praise and thankfulness. Who am I that He cares for me?

Those that have just started to get to know Him can only love God so much. Different people will love God in different measures and ways, this comes easier for some, yet harder for others. This depends on how they’ve learned to love in the past. Perhaps for those that were not blessed with a loving home when growing up, they might find it difficult to love God the most. These people have the greatest need for your prayers, I believe.

The key for all of us is to continue growing in Christ, which only leads to a deeper love for Him. This is wonderful indeed. The person who just came to the Lord today can say “I love the Lord with all my heart!” just as the person that has been diligently following Him for 30 years. It’s all the same in God’s eyes. He looks at the heart and as long as our heart is for Him, regardless of our knowledge, we are accepted by Him and can come boldly before Him.

Ephesians 3: 12 Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.

On this occasion, found in John 6: 26, people ask Jesus “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”. Jesus replies “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”

You can’t get much simpler than this.

This is sheer brilliance on God’s part. This will make some scholars look foolish. I say this because you can spend your entire life trying to study and figure out God by reading all the right books and going to all the lectures and not learn how to believe, love, or trust in God.

All we have to do is believe in Jesus, the Word. Believe is defined as “to have confidence in the assertions of (a person).”

How much confidence can we have in someone we barely know? Not much.

But if we get to know someone and spend time with them on a daily basis discovering more and more that they are trustworthy we can have great confidence (faith) in them. Do you get the idea?

I am convinced that if the Body of Christ took daily prayer and Bible reading (devotion to God) as serious as they take their secular employment and or ways to make a living, then we would have a vibrant and most powerful church. But we don’t. We have a church, at least in North America, that by and large does not know their God, which is evidenced by its weakness and lack of love for their neighbor.

Your relationship to God is no different than any other relationship you currently have, in that, the more time and attention you put into your relationship with God the more you will love God!

His greatest desire is that all of you will get to know and love all of Him. He had His only Son die for this to happen! Not only is this is in your best interest but it will satisfy you in ways you cannot imagine. This is the intimacy that He wants with you. This will lead you to greater works that only God can give you to do. This level of intimacy will lead you to burst out in song in the middle of a prayer just because you’ll be compelled to. When this happens you’ll know you’re on the right track.

In Jesus’ own words:

John 17: 20 “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. 21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.

22 “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. 23 I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. 24 Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!

Will you join me in believing in Him?

“Thank you, heavenly Father! For you are too wonderful for me to comprehend! You give us life abundantly and I am only beginning to understand this. I am sorry that some days I do not spend the time with you that I could. I allow other things to get in the way and I’ve failed to recognize it when it happens. Please help me to put you first. Teach me to understand that you alone give me life and that my soul requires nourishment from you daily in order to grow. Will you help me get to know you more? Will you draw me closer to you? I want to love you as you’ve intended. Thank you in advance for teaching me and molding me so that I can be more like your Son, which will lead more people to you. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

Photo by Ryan Brisco on Unsplash

 

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If you desire a closer walk with Jesus, just want more fellowship or “Bible Time” come join us at TheBibleTeam.com. We have weekly calls where our sole focus is spending time in God’s Word.

Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
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