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He Loves Me... He Loves Me... (not?)

He Loves Me… He Loves Me…(not?)

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?

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 Matters Most To You?

What Matters Most To You?

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.”

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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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How Do We Trust?

Does trust come automatically or is it learned? Of course, it is learned.  Trust takes time.

Just because someone says “trust me”, can we trust them? For those few people in our lives that we can trust, the people we say we can “count on” when things are tough, how was that trust developed? I am sure that those people have shown themselves to be trustworthy, over time. Perhaps they have come through for you like when your car broke down, or when you needed help with a personal emergency.

But what about those times that require more than human help? What about a terminal illness or a dire financial situation? I’m sure you know where I’m going with this. Certainly, God is there for us when we need Him, but although we know this intellectually, do we know in our heart that we can trust Him?

Psalm 9: 10 Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you.

I think this verse says so succinctly what I’m trying to say. “Those who know your name trust in you”. Reading about trusting in God or listening to your pastor about trusting God is one thing, but actually trusting in God personally is a completely different matter.

Pray or just pay?

When money seems like the obvious or only solution, do we reach for the credit card or do we wait on God and seek His advice? The problem is if we always seem to “figure it out”, there is no way for us to learn how to trust in Him. This is why I think He sometimes leads us down a path so that we have no choice but to trust in Him. How does this work? Let’s review the story of Elijah and the widow at Zarephath:

1 Kings 7: 8 Then the Lord said to Elijah, 9 “Go and live in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon. I have instructed a widow there to feed you.”

10 So he went to Zarephath. As he arrived at the gates of the village, he saw a widow gathering sticks, and he asked her, “Would you please bring me a little water in a cup?” 11 As she was going to get it, he called to her, “Bring me a bite of bread, too.”

12 But she said, “I swear by the Lord your God that I don’t have a single piece of bread in the house. And I have only a handful of flour left in the jar and a little cooking oil in the bottom of the jug. I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal, and then my son and I will die.”

God tells Isaiah to visit the widow, so he goes. Isaiah asks for some bread, and as far as she’s concerned she has just enough for one more meal, then she and her son will die.

“You’re asking me for bread???”

 13 But Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you’ve said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what’s left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again!”

15 So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her son continued to eat for many days. 16There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah.

So Elijah reassures the woman and says that there will always be enough until the crops grow again. So that’s what happens. She lives through this somewhat miraculous time while her needs are being met day by day and they get through it. But then something happens:

17 Some time later the woman’s son became sick. He grew worse and worse, and finally he died.18 Then she said to Elijah, “O man of God, what have you done to me? Have you come here to point out my sins and kill my son?”

Her son dies.

She’s distraught and questions the man of God altogether. It doesn’t make sense. He comes there, she witnesses the daily miracles, and then her son dies? Why God? Elijah is clueless as well…

19 But Elijah replied, “Give me your son.” And he took the child’s body from her arms, carried him up the stairs to the room where he was staying, and laid the body on his bed. 20 Then Elijah cried out to the Lord, “O Lord my God, why have you brought tragedy to this widow who has opened her home to me, causing her son to die?”

21 And he stretched himself out over the child three times and cried out to the Lord, “O Lord my God, please let this child’s life return to him.” 22 The Lord heard Elijah’s prayer, and the life of the child returned, and he revived! 23 Then Elijah brought him down from the upper room and gave him to his mother. “Look!” he said. “Your son is alive!”

The non-believer is blessed by God through the believer and only after seeing her son die does God have a chance to work so that this happens…

24 Then the woman told Elijah, “Now I know for sure that you are a man of God, and that the Lord truly speaks through you.”

She’s now a believer!

God has revealed Himself to her and she has a great testimony. I love this. In this process of the woman becoming a believer, Elijah is strengthened and encouraged by the whole event. I think that the daily miracle of just having food to eat prepared the woman for what was to come.

Mark 4: 39 When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. 40 Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

41 The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”

God allowed the child to die just as He allows the storms to come into our lives so that we may see Him at work in our lives, learn to trust in Him, and also that those around us will know that He is God.

Exodus 14:18 When my glory is displayed through them, all Egypt will see my glory and know that I am the Lord!”

Do those around you know that He is the Lord?

“O Lord, thank you for what you are doing in my life. I don’t understand all that you are doing and you know that I get frustrated at times and ask ‘why?’. Please be patient with me as I continue to learn and get to know you more. For you are God and I am a mere human. Lead me down your perfect and pleasing path so that the people you have put in my life will know that you are God. 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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Do You know What Is Right?

Do You Know What Is Right?

Proverbs 14:  12 There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.

Proverbs 3:
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
6 Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.

What is right and how can we know?

Proverbs 9:10
10 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom.
Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.

Doing what is right can only be decided by God. He is the one who created us and thus sets the standard. The internal struggle in all of us is deciding for ourselves what is right and wanting to contradict God thinking that we know better.

Judging someone just because of something I think is wrong is never the right thing to do. For one thing, it may be right in God’s eyes and even if it is wrong, it’s not my role to judge.

Romans 14:  1 Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. 2 For instance, one person believes it’s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. 3 Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? They are responsible to the Lord, so let him judge whether they are right or wrong. And with the Lord’s help, they will do what is right and will receive his approval.

So what is right?

Was it right for God to harden Pharaoh’s heart?

Exodus 9:  12 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and just as the Lord had predicted to Moses, Pharaoh refused to listen.

Was it right for the Israelites to completely destroy their enemies?

1 Samuel 15: 2 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has declared: I have decided to settle accounts with the nation of Amalek for opposing Israel when they came from Egypt. 3 Now go and completely destroy the entire Amalekite nation—men, women, children, babies, cattle, sheep, goats, camels, and donkeys.”

It may seem right to pay all of your bills first, before tithing, but is that what God desires?

It may seem right to get my tasks done first, and then make time for God. I used to think this way, but now I know that that is not right for me. Although I can deduct this lesson from the Bible, Jesus taught me this first hand. This is why knowing our Creator personally is crucial so that we can learn first hand what is right on a daily basis and be convicted of it. Who determines right from wrong?

Let’s learn from Eve

Although Eve knew in her mind that eating the fruit was wrong, she had little or no conviction over it. She had not learned that lesson in her heart.

God’s command: Genesis 2: 15 The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. 16 But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden—17 except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.”

The Lie: Genesis 3:  4 “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. 5 “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”

Just like with Eve, the devil always has a way of questioning that which we already know is right and we can either “not depend on your own understanding” or go with what satan makes us think is right but is always an illusion.

The ultimate question for everyone on the planet then becomes “Can I trust God to know what is right for me?” Can I disregard my upbringing, teaching, and worldly experiences and cling to the path that God has for me?

Reading the Bible is not enough

Simply reading the Word of God is not enough. We need to meditate on the Holy Bread of God, plead with God to transform us into His own image (His original intent) and wait patiently, trusting that He will be faithful to complete that which He’s started in us.

Only then can we learn in our hearts what is right. Only God knows exactly what we need so who am I to think I can find it in “Self” magazine? After all, if He defines and determines what is right, then doesn’t He know what is right for me?

Jeremiah 18: 1 The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, 2 “Go down to the potter’s shop, and I will speak to you there.” 3 So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. 4 But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over.

5 Then the Lord gave me this message: 6 “O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand.

A matter of submission

To me, this is all about letting God be God and me be His humble servant. As soon as I start getting these roles reversed, I no longer ask Him what is right and determine that for myself. It is a matter of submission.

Psalm 118:8
8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in people.

Psalm 1: 1b He feared God and stayed away from evil.

Working at a church may seem right and please the pastor, but if it is at the expense of your wife or husband and causes you to neglect those in your immediate ministry, then I would say it might be wrong.

Only God knows what is right for you to do, and only you can know what that is by remaining in Him.

There is no other way than to trust and obey!

John 15:  9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!

When we say in our own minds “I don’t know what to do” we have a choice between asking others and asking God. He promises to direct our steps. Admitting that “we don’t know” is a place of humility, which allows us to be used by God, because He gladly helps us and that brings glory to Him.

James 1:  5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

Will you do what it takes to know what is right?

“Dear God, You are the Potter and I am the clay, help me to be your humble servant. Help me know what is right in your eyes, not mine. Thank you for continually teaching me from your Word so that I may have knowledge and understanding. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

Photo by Jens Lelie on Unsplash

 

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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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