Bridle It!

James 1:26 “If anyone considers himself religious and yet does not keep a tight rein on his tongue, he deceives himself and his religion is worthless.”

Oh my, these are not words that people in 2020 want to hear or obey. Everyone has an opinion, and everyone is spouting it on social media and other places. And sadly, if you agree to disagree, you are labeled a hater. Anything or anyone that looks different than the mainstream agenda and the actions of this fallen world is taken as a threat and as hate.

People feel free to express themselves however they choose, and for the world, it is to be expected, but not for the church, not for true believers and followers of Jesus. Now everyone sends out their messages, via social media, their thoughts on any given subject known. And the content of their hearts has been displayed for all to see. Arguments have ensued, making their point known, and criticizing any who disagree. There seems to be little love left for them. They have taken up the banner for the world and forgotten that they are supposed to be a “light in the darkness,” “set apart,” “a city on a hill,” “peacemakers,” “lovers of people,” and the list goes on. We Christians are to hold no other banner high but that of Jesus Christ! If you say you are a Christian, you are labeled a hater.

Somehow people think that because they did not physically speak the words that it does not relate to their tongues, I dare say they are mistaken. It is a form of their tongue voiced in a manner that seems safe because they are hiding behind keystrokes. Social media is now the platform to spread hate, unkindness, lewdness, and all sorts of things unholy.

I have been shocked by some of the stuff that has appeared on my friend’s pages, even ashamed of and for them. They seem to have forgotten who and whose they are and how they should conduct themselves at all times. When you can put on your Sunday best, post pictures and videos of yourself having church (watching on a screen, because of COVID,) and in the next moment post profanity and ugliness. I ask: How? Why? What are you thinking?

The scripture above should scare anyone who practices such behavior. It clearly states that if a person who says they are religious does not keep a tight reign on their tongue their religion/testimony is worthless. Should those words not jar someone into repentance? We are never given the liberty to run our mouths, call people names, spew unkindness, or any such thing, at any time, for any reason. We are to be peacemakers, lovers of others, kind, trustworthy, helpful, spreaders of the gospel, but not imitators of the world. When you have stopped looking like Christ and started looking and sounding like the world, you need to check your heart. There is a stench coming from you.

People need bridles. They need to allow themselves to be led by the Holy Spirit in all things, actions, words, what they post on social media. Our words, whether spoken verbally or written down, reflect our hearts and our attitude towards God and man. If you are looking and sounding like this filthy godless world you need to hit your knees in repentance.

James 1:19-22 “My dear brothers take note of this: “Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry, 20 for man’s anger does not bring about the righteous life that God desires. 21 Therefore, get rid of all moral filth and the evil that is so prevalent and humbly accept the word planted in you, which can save you. 22 Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves. Do what it says.”

Wow! Are you being deceived? Do you think you belong to Christ, yet in your heart of hearts where it matters, you do not? Each of us needs to take a long hard look at what is captivating our hearts, our minds, our time. We need to think before we speak or type. We need to remember that we are the church, the body of Christ; we ARE or should be a PECULIAR people. (1 Peter 2:9)

We are to spread the gospel, the good news. We are to be examples of Christ’s likeness. We are to be the difference, loving God, and loving people. We are to live holy and righteous lives remembering that the Lord is always with us, always watching, hearing, and seeing. Nothing we do or say is hidden from Him. That should make you have a holy fear and make you change your behavior.

I believe we are in the last days; how long they will last, I do not know. I know what you are thinking, I have heard that said for years, but one day, it will be true; He will return, and the world will have lost its chance. We need to live each day as though it were our last. I would hate to think the last thing I said or did was to be unkind, unforgiving, vulgar, etc.

Bridle your tongue, check your heart, walk in a manner worthy. Remember that you are a child of God, an ambassador to the world on His behalf. What you say, what you do, what you type and post matters. People are seeing, hearing, and many are leaving with a sour taste in their mouths for Christianity. How very sad. One day you will stand before God; you will give an account for every word spoken or written, everything laid bare.

I pray that you take a long hard look inside today. Get it settled with the Lord. Stop giving excuses for bad behavior and start being that light in the darkness.

As The Pendulum Swings

This past week has been an emotional roller-coaster, in the middle of an already hard season of life. A week ago today, I watched my sister pass from this life to the next. I was watching via video as the pendulum between this life and the next swung. And somewhere in the middle of it, she slipped into eternity. Life support was disconnected, and in less than a minute she was gone, the screen a flatline, where once a faint heartbeat had been. There was no sustainable life in her. I had rushed as much as you can from six hours away, not allowing myself to cry, focused on the task of arriving in time. I had been told I would be able to go be with her for the end. However, when I arrived and gave them my name, they called the ICU and was told that I was not allowed. At that moment all the tears I had held in check came rushing out. My heartfelt as though it would burst from the weight and pain of it all. But God…

As I was waiting to hear them say I could go up, I see a woman walking by. She looked my way and somewhere in my head I felt I knew her, but since we were both behind masks, I just figured I did not. But she persisted in looking at me above her mask with a furrowed brow and spoke my name, and I knew that voice. A voice from my school days, a voice I had not heard for over nine years. About the time she was asking me why I was there, they said those words that cut like a knife, you cannot go up, we are sorry. When the floodgates opened and my heart was pouring out, this friend, this angel sent straight from God, rubbed my back, spoke words of love to me, took me to her office, and allowed me the privacy I needed for such a raw, hard time. I was not supposed to be back there, but at that moment my hurt, my pain was far more important to this ambassador for God than the rules. And as I saw the horrible image of my sister on life support with blood running from her mouth and I spoke my final words to her with tears running freely down my face and my heart feeling as though it would stop, this friend, this angel cried with me. She shared in the pain of what was happening.

God knew before I arrived that I would be told no, God knew I was going to take it very hard, God knew I needed a private place to say my good-byes, God knew she worked there, I did not. God knew it all and He had already prepared her to recognize me, to come to my aid, to allow her love and kindness to shine through as she gave me shelter in the middle of my storm. He is good that way, always looking out for us.

My sister had been bed-ridden for years, blind for many. Her life consisted of a bed, a TV to listen to, and my brother and his wife taking care of her needs. She could not even stand up for a few moments. But even in that hard, often lonely existence, she made the best of it. She never complained or cried in front of you bemoaning her circumstances, she was just thankful she was still here, still able to talk to us, still able to be near her family, listening to the hustle and bustle of life. Life had not been kind to her, taking her only daughter right after she received a transplant. She and her husband, along with their son were left with a little one to love and raise. Life and health did not allow her to participate very much. But she could give out hugs and kisses, snuggles, and advice.

I do not understand why her life had to be so hard, or why her health had to be in steady decline, with multiple near-death experiences. Only God knows that. Only God knows how much hard, sorrow, hurt, joy, happiness, health, and wealth we need to get us heaven ready. His word tells us that He orders our steps or lack of them. He dictates or days and hours. And it tells that whatever our lot, it is good and perfect in Him.

As my sister was oscillating between this earth’s broken body and heaven, seeing and being completely transformed and healed extreme, God was right there. He was orchestrating it all, He was meeting her at death’s final breath and taking her to sights unseen and He was holding each of us in His loving hands. He was giving the peace that passes understanding, even as tears flowed and words of love escaped our lips.

I have read often that He never leaves us or forsakes us, and I can tell you that it is true. He did not say we would escape the hardness of life, or that we would not taste hurts that take our breath away. He said, that no matter where we are, no matter what the circumstances are, no matter how deep the pain, He would be with us, He will comfort us, and He will carry us as needed. I have felt carried this past week. Oh occasionally tears well up and even slip out, but not in a desperate I cannot take this kind of way, but in a, “I miss you here, I miss your voice, I miss your face, but I will see you again.” And then about the same time as those thoughts enter my mind, I think to myself: “Wow, The first face my sister has seen in years was Jesus.” “Those legs that were too weak to stand or walk, are now running on streets of gold.” “Those feeble hands that shook so bad that she could not get her food to her mouth without most of it falling onto the bed, are now steady and holding those of her maker and loved ones who have gone before.” And in that pendulum moment, my heart is made glad, my tears cease and I am flooded with joy.

God has her, she received the perfect healing, her faith is now sight.
Her hard life has ceased, every pain is gone, every lonely moment filled to overflowing, feet that could not, now can. Beauty beyond what I can imagine has captivated her. My oh my how awesome is that!

Until I see her again I will miss her “Sunday funnies.” She called me each Sunday to tell me a joke. I will miss our conversations that only sisters share. But I will walk with a spring in my step, a smile on my face, and hope for our future reunion. I will trust God in this hard season, I will lean closer to him, listen more intently, and make sure the oil in my lamp is full.
Because I do not know when my “pendulum” moment will come when I will walk my final step, breathe my last breath, and experience my last heartbeat. But I do know, I will walk in faith and live life to the fullest and trust that the God who created it all, is working it all out, for my good and His glory. He is good like that : )

What should be your take away from this: “If you do not know Him as Lord and Savior you need to, you will spend eternity somewhere, either heaven or hell.” “Make sure your lamp is filled with oil, your eyes are in His word and your heart is tender to His leading.” “Make sure you love well those around you, do not harbor unforgiveness of any kind.” “Trust if you have lost a loved one who was in Christ, you will see them again, and they are better than they have ever been.” “Walk in such a way that others see Jesus in you.” “Hold fast to what His word says and remember, He could come at any moment, so how we live second to second matters.” ” His peace that passes understanding is real, and available to you.” “He is faithful, giving what we need not one moment too soon or too late.” “You can trust him with your pain.” “He loves you more than you can imagine.” “He is good even in the hard.” “Joy is found even in the presence of sorrow and grief.” “Smile, He’s got this!”

John 3:16
John 14:27
Romans 8:38-39
James 4:8
Revelation 21:4
Isaiah 25:8
Psalm 31:24
Psalm 46:1
Psalm 55:22
Lamentations 3:32
2 Corinthians 1:3-4
Hebrews 4:15
Hebrews 13:5

They Are Hard To Love

What do I mean by that? Well, there are people in this world who are hard to love. And God puts those people in our lives. Why? To teach us to love sacrificially. To teach us that it is not about us, to teach us that sometimes, even daily, we are called to love as Jesus did. Sometimes we feel that the person does not deserve it. But Agape love, the kind Jesus has for us, says they do, and we can.

First, we cannot be worried about ourselves. We cannot try to love someone through our own need or want. Loving someone with Agape love starts with a humble heart before God. Then it has to expect nothing in return. In other words, there may not be a pat on the back for something.
Often it is not even recognized when we love this way.

God loves us for no reason. We in ourselves have nothing good to give to him. We are born sinners at birth, left to our own devices, most of us tend to be selfish, we want things our way, yesterday! It is all about me! My needs, my wants, my desires, my being comfortable and happy.

We find the perfect reflection of God’s love in the Cross. Jesus poured out His blood for us, He took the punishment for our sins upon Himself, and He never uttered a word…except to say, “Father forgive them, they know not what they do.”

Some people, either because of circumstances in life, conditions, or just stubbornness, and selfishness do not know how to give love. For whatever reason, their love meter has not got any higher numbers on it. It is like you are banging your head on a wall over and over with the same result. Hurt, pain, and disappointment. The only way we can love sacrificially is by the power of the Holy Spirit. By walking daily with the Lord, reading His word, learning His ways, and trusting Him to fill those empty spots that are left by the world and others.

It is rare when love is returned the way it is given. The best thing is to have no expectation that it will be. We love because He loves us. When you expect something and it does not happen you have set yourself up for disappointment. You simply do the right thing, love the right way, and leave the rest to God. He will reward you and bless you for what you do. He will cover all the areas that need covering and fill you with all you need to keep going.

In our world today too many people refuse to love if you do not agree with them. If you cannot affirm them in the way they think you should see it as hate. We were warned in scripture that those things that are right would become wrong, and the wrong things right in the last days. People are all about themselves and their feelings these days. If nothing else this pandemic and the hardness of 2020 has revealed the content of everyone’s hearts.

I will leave you with a few. verses to meditate on. If you find that you are struggling to love sacrificially, fall. on your knees before God, ask him to fill you up and to help you move out of the way, so that you can love as He has told us we should. Let him fill up all those places that are barren and in need, and I promise that He will, and He can.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever. believes on him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

John 15:13 “Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends.” or Wife, or Husband, or Sister, or Brother, or neighbor…..

1 John 3:16 “We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters.”

John 13:34-35 “I give you a new commandment to love one another. Just as I have loved you, you also are to love one another. Everyone will know by this that you are my disciples if you have love for one another.”

Galatians 5:14 “For the whole law can be summed up in this one command, “Love your neighbor as yourself.” Wife, Husband, Friend, Sister, Brother….You get the idea.

Why don’t today you ask the Lord to help you love as He loves. To give when you feel you cannot, and remember that He is watching and He is the rewarder of those who obey Him.

Blessings!

Evil Out, The Holy Spirit In

Luke 11:24-26 “When an evil spirit comes out of a man, it goes through arid places seeking rest and does not find it. Then it says, ‘I will return to the house I left.’ 25 When it arrives, it finds the house swept clean and put in order. 26 Then it goes and takes seven other spirits more wicked than itself, and they go in and live there. And the final condition of that man is worse than at first.”

People wish to reform themselves. They desire to stop bad habits or some sin that they are actively pursuing. Their life is just one mistake after another, and it is taking its toll on them and those around them. They seek change and set about doing the work of changing on their own. They may surround themselves with a different type of person than they usually associate with; often they desire to move away and to be set free from something or someone they feel bound to in the wrong way.
Whatever the reason, they need something different. Life needs to go in another direction.

Many times these people find themselves going to church. They become friends with the “right kind” of people, and the bad habits stop (for a while.) They have swept their house. It is clean. The change has been a superficial one. Often we can change a bad habit or even stop a known sin, but here is where the( rubber meets the road) if you have not fully repented of your sins, if the Holy Spirit is not now living in you, then you will eventually return to the life you knew before, and all too often even worse sin.

We need the power of the Holy Spirit to accomplish the purpose he has given us, and to help us have the strength to not go back. We need the Holy Spirit to teach us and guide us as we walk out this new life. God gives us new purpose when we commit ourselves to Him; He redirects our desires so that they come in line with His will and His way. When we leave the Holy Spirit out, and we have not truly been born-again then we are in danger of our swept house becoming even viler than before.

You may be thinking my sin is not as bad a so and so’s. Sin is sin, and without Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit in us, we cannot live the life we are meant to. We cannot say no to those things that lure us away. The enemy of our souls knows those things that entice us. He knows just the right thing or person to put in our path to trip us up. The Holy Spirit convicts us of sin and helps us to say no to it. We have power in our efforts. Without the Holy Spirit’s help, we tend to follow the crowd and to justify the sin in our lives. Because when we reject Jesus, we have committed the very worst sin there is, and the sin of rejecting Jesus and His offer of forgiveness, and freedom, will send you straight to hell.

Life outside of Christ, even one seemingly well lived will result in the same end, your eternity will be in hell, eternal torment, and not in heaven with the one who created you and died for you, where there is no more sin, no tears, no illness, no anything bad, just eternal joy with your Savior.

You should ask yourself hard questions. Look deep inside and see if you truly know Jesus; is he the Lord of your life. If you have been born-again then the things of this world no longer hold you. There should be outward evidence of an inward change. When our hearts have been made new, we no longer desire the things that used to hold our minds, bodies, and hearts captive. We hate sin and desire to live our lives pleasing to Jesus.

We cannot go back to the sin we once lived in, the very thought makes you sick to your stomach. To think that you would offend this wonderful Savior who took your sin upon the cross so that you would not have to receive your due punishment. But if you reject the Lord, if you have dabbled in Christianity and then returned to who you were or worse, you need to be very concerned. We are not promised tomorrow, today is the day of salvation. Check your heart…Check your life and see if it lines up with what and who God tells us we should be. Make sure you can say: I am His, and He is mine.

The very thought that you could end up in worse condition should be enough to make you run to the foot of the cross and seek the Lord. But sadly many people’s eyes are blinded, their ears do not hear and they go back to the life they once knew or worse. Their hearts are hardened to the word of God.

I pray that you do a soul searching today, that you make sure of your salvation. Make sure the change inside is one happening under the direction and unction of the Holy Spirit. If it is not, it will be a superficial change, and it will not last.

I want you to know the wonderful life that you can have when you live surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus Christ!

Persist In Prayer

Luke 11:5-10
Then he said to them, “Suppose one of you has a friend, and he goes to him at midnight and says, ‘Friend, lend me three loaves of bread,
6 because a friend of mine on a journey has come to me, and I have nothing to set before him.’ 7 Then the one inside answers, ‘Don’t bother me. The door is already locked, and my children are with me in bed. I can’t get up and give you anything.’ 8 I tell you, though he will not get up and give him the bread because he is his friend, yet because of the man’s boldness he will get up and give him as much as he needs. 9 “So I say to you; Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. 10 For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

When we go to the Lord in prayer all too often we give up on the prayer when we do not see immediate answers. We assume God does not care or has not heard. We know from scriptures like Jeremiah 33:3 that God hears each word we utter in prayer, and he always answers. Yet, we give up. This story in Luke reminds us to keep asking, to keep seeking our answers through prayer. God is listening, and God is answering. When we persist in seeking Him for answers our hearts and minds are being changed and renewed.

When we persist in prayer, our boldness overcomes our insensitivity, not God’s. When we continue to knock on the doors of heaven, we are being changed, we are seeing more clearly, and we are better able to see the hand of God at work in whatever situation we are bringing to Him. We are better able to understand our sensitivity and intensity of the need we are presenting.

We are reassured in verse 10 that as when we ask, we receive, as we seek, we find, when we knock at heavens door fore answers, the door will open. It does not say we might find answers, or the door might open, the word says, they will! How often I have been guilty of letting a certain prayer go, feeling as though my prayers were not getting past my ceiling. Forgetting that God was at work even though I could not see it at the time, and often could not feel it. I forgot that the word tells me that He always hears me and He always answers. Yet, on other occasions I have continued in prayer, fervently asking for God’s help, healing, or intervention, whatever the petition was, but I desperately continued seeking and knocking, and somewhere in the process I have been changed. My prayers have often taken a turn towards what God wants, and my faith has grown and my fears have been quieted. God was hearing and God was moving. I was better able to pray effectively because God turned my heart, and mind to be in line with His perfect will and timing.

We are like a microwave, we want everything in 30 seconds or less. Having to wait for five minutes for something to cook seems too long. But the process of cooking some things takes longer, if we give up on it too soon, we get to eat uncooked cold food. Do you want that? As we grow in Christ, we see more clearly how His timing and His ways are best. When we wait on Him, things go more smoothly, often flawlessly, but when we barge ahead all too often it goes wrong or is very hard. There is a reason for everything God does or does not do. His ways are so much higher than ours and He sees what we cannot.

When I was a child and my dad was abusing me, I prayed all the time that the abuse would stop, that Jesus would do something to help me. I also prayed so hard for him to be saved. I wanted him to know Jesus and to one day go to heaven. Did the abuse stop immediately? No. Did it keep me from asking and seeking God’s help? No. I had learned through my grandmother that I was to keep knocking on heaven’s door. She assured me through her own walk and prayer life that God was listening and answering. What my prayers did, was change me. No matter what he did or how many times, somehow, (I know how 🙂 I was able to laugh and play, forgive and move on. Every time I went to my field to pray, God met with me there. No, I could not see it then, but I see it so clearly now.

When I look back at that little girl crying and talking to God, I can feel him all over me. He protected my mind and my soul, and somehow in spite of what was going on, he grew my faith. Did my dad get saved? YES, HE DID! It was years later, but God heard my prayer and through circumstances that he allowed for a season, he saved his soul. My dad has been gone a long time, thirty years to be exact, and all thirty of those have been spent with His savior, the one who saved him in spite of himself. Hallelujah! I kept knocking, I persisted in prayer, it did not matter what the circumstances looked like, I believed God was listening and answering. His answer not only included salvation for my dad but healing even in the process of pain and hurt for me. Only God can do that!

I want to urge you to trust God with your hurts, your decisions, every need you have, He is the answer! He cares, He hears, He answers, He is faithful. He will guide you through the hard places of life all the while growing your faith, molding you, and changing you to look more like him and the child of God you should be. Even when the answer is no, or wait in my case, God is hearing and answering. And there are times when it is a resounding yes, and we see instant answers. Let God’s perfect work be done in you as you continue to seek him and answers through prayer. Remember these words mighty warrior and do not grow weary in the asking.

“For everyone who asks receives; he who seeks finds; and to him who knocks, the door will be opened.”

Ask, seek, knock…He is listening.

Stay The Course

Matthew 11:1:6
After Jesus had finished instructing his twelve disciples, he went on from there to teach and preach in the towns of Galilee. 2 When John heard in prison what Christ was doing, he sent his disciples to ask him. “Are you the one who was to come, or should we expect someone else?”
4 “Jesus replied, “Go back and report to John what you hear and see:
5 The blind receive sight, the lame walk, those who have leprosy are cured, the deaf hear, the dead are raised, and the good news is preached to the poor. 6 Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.”

Here John was in prison because he had publicly rebuked Herod for marrying his sister-in-law. When John heard what was going on and that Jesus was healing and raising the dead, he started having doubts as to whether Jesus really was the Messiah. John had been preparing the way for the Messiah, yet here he sat in prison, and if Jesus was the Messiah why was he in prison? Couldn’t Jesus free him? After all, John could have been using that time to preach.

It is a valid response to his predicament. He had faithfully been going about preaching repentance, baptizing, and shouting about the coming Messiah. Yet, here he was, in prison and Jesus did not seem to care. But Jesus answered John’s question by telling him about the evidence of who He was. He was healing the sick, raising the dead, people could walk again, the good news was being taught to those in need. Miracles were happening and they spoke of who He was, they confirmed His identity.

We too tend to doubt who God is when things are not going our way. When life hands us more lemons than lemonade we question God, who are you and why won’t you change this, and help me. And we find our answer in verse 6 of this passage: “Blessed is the man who does not fall away on account of me.” What does it mean? The evidence is there, God is who He says He is, and He is able to do anything, but all too often He says to wait, not now. Our prayers are being answered in God’s time.

I will repeat it, even when He does not act quickly, we need to stay the course, to continue to walk with the Lord regardless of our circumstances, regardless of whether or not we see prayers being answered, especially the way we think they should be answered. We need to trust God, even if He does not work it out immediately, we need to stay the course because God is with us. We already know from Jeremiah 33:3, and 1 Peter 3:12 that God hears our prayers, and He always answers. We also know from verses like Deuteronomy 31:8, Joshua 1:5, Isaiah 41:10, and many more that He is always with us, He never leaves us or forsakes us.

We are blessed, happy and so much more when we continue to believe even when our eyes cannot see the answer and God seems silent. We need to remember that our faith should be in Christ Jesus, not in the “what can He do for me.” If we have been forgiven for our sins and born again, and we are now sons and daughters of the Most-High God, then we have all we need and we can trust him to work in our lives and hear and answer our prayers. God is faithful, He does and will answer in His timing, not ours, and usually, He does not answer the way we think that He should. His wisdom is so far above our earthly human wisdom that we cannot see exactly what we need or how, we just know that we want relief and help.

John wanted out of prison…he was faithfully fulfilling his God-given mission. But that did not mean he was exempt from trials and tribulations. He had to do what we need to do and that was to refocus his attention not on what he could get, more stuff, comfortable, out of prison, but on who Jesus is and our relationship and walk with him. I believe that when we continue on in the face of hardship and we lean in close to Jesus, He transforms our thoughts and our desires to come in line with His own. We start wanting more of him and less of this world and all that it offers. Jesus wanted John to see that He was who he said He was and the miracles taking place were evidence of it, but that He was not a “Jennie in a bottle.” You cannot just demand it to be done and expect it to immediately happen. Yes, could it, absolutely, we see times in scripture when healing was instantaneous, and death was immediate because people did not obey God. God can act right at the moment of your prayer.

I do not know about you, but I have been so happy at times when God did not answer immediately in the heat of the moment, the answer was so much sweeter and obviously better than I could have asked to begin with, and often as I study God’s word and pray I can see that I really did not need whatever it was I was asking for. God works all things out according to His will, in His time, for our good and His glory. If you have prayed, He has heard and the answer is on its way. Do not look for it with human eyes, look with spiritual eyes. Rest in Him, let him grow you, and teach you through the process and greater the reward and blessing when you do! When we wait on God and allow him to do it “His way” we are getting the very “best way ever!” After all He is going to do it His way regardless of what we need or want, why not find peace, joy, and contentment while we wait?

I do not have God’s wisdom, I do not see the entire picture, but God does…I ask from my perspective, but the one who knit me together and holds all things together really does know the when, the why, the how, and it really is better : )

Are You Producing?

Matthew 3:8 “Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.”
Matthew 3:10 “The ax is already at the foot of the trees, and every tree that does not produce good fruit will be cut down and thrown into the fire.”

How are you producing? Does the tree of your life have good ripe fruit hanging on it? Christians are called to do good works. Once we get up from the posture of repentance and salvation, what we do next is important. Our actions should back up what has just transpired in our lives. Once we give our hearts to the Lord, the Holy Spirit comes in and starts the changing process. We are not left to talk and behave as we once did. Our outward actions should reflect the inward change. God looks past what we say to see if what we do backs up the words coming from our lips. We do not do good deeds to attain salvation, but because we are saved there should be good deeds flowing from us.

God is not pleased with people who say they are Christians yet do nothing about it. We are not to be Christians in name only, but what we do should reflect the inward change we have experienced at the foot of the cross. If you call yourself a Christian yet there has been no change in your behavior, you most likely need to check your heart. You may have had a religious moment of excitement, but have not been truly born again.

God tells us this:” we will be judged” for unproductive lives. He tells us that if we do not produce good fruit we will be cut down and thrown into the fire. Those are pretty strong words! John compares us to fruit trees that do not produce fruit. We are not to be Christians in name only. We are to live productive lives, investing in others, and spreading the “Good news” at the same time. Others should see our faith in the way we treat them. It goes back to the old saying: “we may be the only bible some people read or listen to.” Are you good reading material?

To live for God, we must be obedient to His word. We must resist temptation and sin. We must actively serve people, and love like Jesus loved. We must share Jesus with those we meet. Our actions need to match our words. When Jesus came to this earth, he served others, put their needs above his own, do you do that?
I know of people who claim to be Christian, but there is nothing that they do that backs up that claim. Their lives center around their needs, what makes them happy. The thought of doing something for someone else never enters their mind. They are selfish in all they do. Now, only God knows their heart, but from the outward, it makes me question whether they truly know the Lord.

When you become “born again” there is an immediate change that takes place. The Holy Spirit comes into you and dwells inside of you. From that moment on, there are changes that start taking place. We cannot continue our lives and our conduct as we once did. We do not have to change to come to Christ, He tells us to come as we are, but once we have come, once we have repented and turned from our sins and accepted Jesus as Lord and Savior of our lives, then the change starts and keeps going until we leave this earth. We are to be about the Father’s business. We are to live our lives spilled out for others. We are no longer our own, we belong to God, and God changes us!

If you continue in sin after you say you have been born again, then I say you probably were not born again. The Holy Spirit convicts us of our sins and changes our desires. People who go forward, profess faith, and go live like they did before…need to check their hearts. We lose even the desire for the sinful lives we once lived. As we read, pray, and seek God, our focus shifts, and our desires start to line up with God’s desires.

So, I ask you again, are you producing? Is their fruit on your branches? Do you live a life of obedience to God’s word, do you love in your actions and not only with words? Could someone look at the things you do and see Christ in them? Can others see your faith in the way you treat them? If not, now is the time to repent. We are not promised tomorrow, so we must live fully, and fully live for Jesus Christ right now.

The time to start having your actions match your words is now. You no longer have the excuse that you do not know. If you have read this, then you know. Once we hear the truth, it is what we do with it that matters. God’s word does not lie. He said it, and He meant it! Examine yourself, look deeply at the things you do, or do not do. The next time you feel that prompting by the Holy Spirit, act on it. God sees everything we do. Nothing escapes his notice. He has saved you, now act like it! One day, you will be judged for the things that you have done, or not done. Think about that as you go about your day.

Nothing Too Small

Zechariah 4:6 “Not by might not by power, but by my Spirit, says The Lord Almighty.”

Zechariah 4:10 “ Who despises the day of small things? Men will rejoice when they see the plumb line in the hand of Zerubbabel.”

So often, we wish we were doing bigger, better things in life and ministry. We look around and see others that are working at high-paying jobs, and have a big house, and all the toys that go with it, or we see someone who is ministering in a way we wish we could. They seem to be doing the things that bring notice to them; they can get things done for God. So often, people believe that you have to be tough or strong, unbending in your approach to survive in this world, and sometimes even in ministry.

What if I told you these things are not true. Look at Zechariah verse six above…God tells us that it is by His Spirit that things get done. He decides, and makes it happen. If there is anything of lasting value in this world, it is by His Spirit. All too often we think small things we do or achieve do not matter, but I tell you they do.

As in verse 10, we see that the older Jews were upset that the temple that was being rebuilt would not match the splendor or greatness of the one King Solomon has built. They thought that smaller meant somehow less than to God. God reminds us in this verse that we need not be upset about the smallness of our gift or work we bring to something. ANYTHING we do for God matters and He is in the little details. Those details are often overlooked by others. Being bigger and better does not always compute the same way in God’s economy as in ours. God rejoices when we do what is right… no matter how big or small it seems. God delights in our obedience and willingness to do the little things we see need to be done.

Maybe you do not have a big high paying job, a fancy house, or lots of toys, but you minister to those in need, you share a meal, you take someone to the Doctor, you show up on time, and do what is asked of you at work or in your church. Maybe you wash dishes after a church social or volunteer to sit with the littles so someone else can have a break. Maybe you get the mail and take it to the door of an elderly friend. It is the attitude with which we serve and do that matters to God. He sees even those secret things that no one else notices. There is not one tiny detail that can escape Hid all-seeing eyes. And God rewards you for those seemingly small insignificant things done for Him.

We need to be satisfied with what we can do, what we bring to the table of need. We need to be faithful in the small things God gives us to do and maybe God will bring a big thing our way, but if not, rejoice that He chose you to do whatever task, or work He has given you to do, and do it with joy in your heart and to please Him above all else. Bigger is not always better…it is just bigger : )

Check Your Focus

We as believers should be following, and obeying the Word of God; we know that God’s word is true, however, all too often we ignore the things that it tells us to do. We tend to focus on what we consider the big verses, the ones that fulfill that Rhema word, we need that second announcement from God for our day or circumstance. I too have experienced that word powerful in the moment that gives me direction and comfort. But this is different than that. This is a conscious effort to focus only on the Lord and who he is and what he does rather than on what we need and want.

As I was studying the other morning through the book of Psalms it was impressed upon me that there is a need for us to focus our attention on God’s glorious deeds. Not only will it empower our faith, but it will focus our attention, and our hearts away from this world’s issues and back to our first love. And we need to be focused in these troubled times.

Psalm 103 tells us of God’s glorious deeds. I am going to take a few moments to write them down for you. 

  1. His benefits-His gifts, His favor, His kindness, His advantage, His value.
  2. He forgives ALL our sins.
  3. Heals ALL our diseases.
  4. Redeems our life from the pit.
  5. Crowns us with love and compassion.
  6. Satisfies our desires with good things.
  7. Renews our youth.
  8. He works righteousness and justice for ALL the oppressed. 
  9. He is compassionate and gracious.
  10. Slow to anger, abounding in love.
  11. He does not always accuse us.
  12. He does not harbor anger forever.
  13. He DOES NOT treat us as our sin deserves.
  14. He DOES NOT repay us according to our iniquities.
  15. His love is higher than the heavens and the earth for us who fear him.
  16. He has forgotten our sins as far as the East is from the West.
  17. He has compassion on us like that of a father for his children.
  18. He knows how we are formed, and remembers that we are mere dust. 
  19. From everlasting to everlasting the Lord’s love is with those who fear him.
  20. His righteousness is with our children’s children, with those who keep his covenant and remember to obey his precepts.
  21. His Kingdom rules OVERALL, the devil is NOT in control, and His kingdom is established forever.

 In a world that screams at us the most hateful things and people, even good people seem to have lost their minds, and their faith, wouldn’t it be better to focus our attention The King of King’s and Lord of Lord’s? To meditate on who He is? He is a good, good Father. He is a sustainer and friend. He is a comforter and keeper. He is…

whatever we need when we need it.

What is our response to be? We should: Psalm 103: 20-22 “Praise the Lord, you His angels, you mighty ones who do his bidding, who obey his word. Praise the Lord, all his heavenly hosts, you his servants who do his will. Praise the Lord, all his works everywhere in his dominion. Praise the Lord, O my soul.”

Why not start today to focus your attention on the Lord. Choose to take your eyes off the world and its troubles and look to Him. Think about who he is and all His glorious deeds. I believe when you do this you will once again begin to see the world and its trouble through Jesus, rather than Jesus through the world. 

He awaits your attention, He desires to restore your hope and deepen your faith. As we look to him the things that once weighed us down start to lose their heaviness and we are able to rest secure knowing He’s got this! Always has and always will!

My prayer for you today is that you will read Psalm 103 for yourselves and you will focus your attention on just how great a God we serve!