Showing posts with label Decisions. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Decisions. Show all posts

Sunday, October 2, 2022

Praying For Those Who Irritate Us

Do you ever have annoyed, frustrated or angry thoughts about anyone? Do the attitudes or behaviors of some people send you into a fit? Are you tempted to have ill will towards those who have misused or mistreated you? 

Have you ever had fleeting or lingering thoughts of wishing problems or misfortune on others? Do you ever find yourself fussing and arguing with yourself about the life that someone lives? I could go on and on and if you profess to have never had any of these types of thoughts or feelings, then you are probably not human. 

I have been on a track for a couple of years now where the Holy Spirit reminds me to stop and pray for these persons. You see, it's not just a matter of us crushing the offending thoughts. While that is an intense and worthy process, it's not enough.

Crushing these thoughts essentially buries them but they are not dead. They are like seeds that can sprout again. God gets to the root of the problem so it can be killed. He wants us to do more than bury unpleasant thoughts about others and generate benign thoughts about people who incense us. 

Our Father God does not want us to suffer any more thoughts that sprout from roots of malevolence. He wants us to be free of malignant thoughts, no matter how mild or fleeting they are. It's a matter of immediately confessing and accepting forgiveness through the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ, Our Savior, and then stopping to pray for the person. It doesn't have to be a long, intense prayer. It can be brief but it should be heartfelt.

When we turn our growth over to God we begin to recognize opportunities to grow. The Holy Spirit prompts, prods and pricks us when a chance is available to do it God's way. It begins from within, where the roots that need to be purged are. God is precise. He wants it all dug out, every offensive thought that hinders. That still, soft voice of his Spirit will remind us. All we need to do is obey, like I did this morning.

The way that God does it for me is to say in my spirit, Did you pray for her?, during or after a hostile thought. He'll say in my spirit, Have you prayed for him?. He won't say I'm wrong for the thought or that I know I should not have been thinking that.

My Father understands why I had the thought and I sense his loving kindness and his mercy. Now, when thoughts like that come, I end up stopping what I'm doing and praying for the person. If I can get on my knees I do. I offer a quick prayer of forgiveness for myself and blessing for the person.

We should forgive the persons for whatever it was that made us offended, vindictive, judgmental. They may not even know us but we know of them and God is not pleased with our thoughts. He wants better for us. Sometimes, the source of our rancor is in our minds or we are just in a bad mood. At other times, our spiteful thoughts can be justified because of real, hurtful events and experiences. 

Whatever the source of these types of troubling thoughts, we don't have to suffer brushing them under the rugs of our minds where they can trip us up later. We can go further and be cleansed of them. Rather than pretend that you never have thoughts like these, submit to God and allow His Holy Spirit to help you. It will make all of the difference in your spirit, attitude and growth. Be pruned! Be purged! Be strengthened!




 

Sunday, September 25, 2022

Being A Positive-Minded Christian

Living a successful Christian life and doing things God's way requires a positive mindset. Walking in the Spirit requires a positive mindset. Being transformed by the renewing of our minds through reading the Word daily requires positive mindsets going in. Allowing our faith to be increased by God requires positive mindsets. Make no mistake, for wonderful changes to come about, we have to start with positive mindsets. We have to believe! That is positive-mindedness. 

Have you been negative-minded when coming to God in prayer? Were you raised in a negative-minded family? Have your trials and troubles in life fostered a negative mind in you? Are you so tired of life, so tired of praying, so tired of hoping that your mind is now negative to God's possibilities? Well, the Holy Spirit is our Comforter and Guide and will restore positivity and faith in us if we let Him.

Allowing the Word to sink in as we read it daily will prune us. We are the branches of Jesus Christ and we have to be regularly trimmed in spirit and attitude. This cutting process will convert and transform our negativeness to the positive-minded position that we need to be in to receive from Our Heavenly Father. 

Are you eating and drinking The Word daily? Are you reading around in The Bible rather than reading the same old scriptures that are tired to your mind and heart? Are you ensuring that you are getting a balance of The Word rather than reading The Lord is my shepherd or Our Father, which art in Heaven everyday? Are you becoming familiar with more obscure scriptures? It takes the entire Word, Old and New Testaments, to transform us and round us out to positive thinking, feeling and behaving. 



Sunday, September 18, 2022

Choosing One Day Of Rest

We are often reminded that God rested the seventh day after he created our world and Adam and Eve. How often do we follow his example and the admonition of the scriptures? We should be more pro-active in enjoying a day of rest each week because the spiritual blessings are many.

It is good to have one day per week when we totally wind down. A day when we don't do all of the stuff that we usually do becomes a day of renewal. Christians feel that Sunday is that day. We use that day for special worship-of-God activities, special Sunday meals and peacefulness.

Some people have to work on Sunday, so they choose another day of rest. Some Christians choose to set apart Saturday for special worship and renewal. It's not so much the day but the obedience to God and the scriptures that blesses us. 

Like with fasting, our minds are brought back to the knowledge, every hour of that chosen day, that we are honoring God through sacrifice. Throughout that day when we think of things that we want to do but shouldn't, we are reminded that we are sacrificing and that Jesus Christ sacrificed for us. We draw closer to God on this day of rest.

Whatever day you choose, be sure to do something different than what you usually do, something restful, peaceful and calm. Cultivate serenity, tranquility and elevated worship. Use it as a prayer-building day. Be refreshed, restored and renewed one day per week, not just spiritually but physically as well. The blessings will be abundant!

Hebrews 4:1-11

Deuteronomy 5:14 

Exodus 20:10, 23:12

Genesis 2:2-3



Friday, August 12, 2022

Loving & Letting God Repay

Don't hate and don't retaliate. We don't know the reasons why God allows us to suffer unfairness, mistreatment, harassment, persecution and other types of attacks, but he always has a plan for us.

The Word encouragingly tells us that all things, not some things, all things work together for good to those of us who love him, who are the called and always according to his purpose. Romans 8:28 We also understand that the good will of God towards us, while primarily for the World to come, is also for our present place of habitation. Luke 18:30

It is Our Father's will that some of the good that is built through trials and tribulations come to us during our present, earthly life. All things work together for good but some we will receive after we leave this dying world. In Hebrews 11:13-17,39-40, we read a summary of faithful Believers who journeyed through a life of commitment to God but left this world not having received the promise despite all that they endured.

One thing is sure. God does not and cannot lie. Every jot and tittle of his Word will come to pass. Matthew 5:18 We can have faith that none of our endurance, suffering, sorrow and tears will be wasted. If we are faithful to God and determine to not hate those who show hate towards us, and not retaliate against those who are malicious towards us, we will eventually receive good through their ill will and hurtful actions.

So we, as faithful followers of Jesus Christ, choose not to hate and not to retaliate in thought, word or deed. We choose to love (with God's love because our flesh cannot love with purity) and let God handle the repayment and vindication against those who offend. I will repay, says Our Father regarding those who are on a mission to malign others. Romans 12:19-21 Our rewards, both here and in the New Heaven and the New Earth, are worth waiting for through Godly endurance of all that he allows. We choose to love and let God.





Sunday, April 10, 2022

We Never Have To Stop Praying

We never have to stop praying. We are encouraged to pray without ceasing. (I Thessalonians 5:17

There are formal and informal ways to pray. When we accept this, the many ways to pray 24/7 open up to us. We don't always have to get on our knees with a scripted intonation of phrases and quotes.

Prayer, in it's essence, is talking to God. Talking to Jesus. How much more candid, honest and heart-felt are conversational words versus rehearsed prayer speeches.

Being tired or discouraged and not feeling like praying is not even an excuse. We can ask the Holy Spirit to pray for us. He will then utter on-target words that we cannot.

Pray without ceasing and grow closer to God.



Sunday, March 20, 2022

Make It Happen With The Help Of God

 

Don't just dream about it. Make it happen, with the help of the Lord. Receive God's ways of thinking. He's sharing them with you. 

You can't just spend the rest of your life wishing it could happen. Learn to see things God's way. He's showing you how.

Don't just keep thinking about it. You're either serious or you're not. Do what God is telling you to do.

You can't continue to just wonder about it. Accept the knowledge that God is constantly imparting unto you.

Don't just hope that it will come to pass. God is a do something God. You have to step out and do it. You know what to do. Faith and courage are being built up in you by Our Lord. You have been asking for it and he is faithful. God has been giving to you the building blocks of faith and courage. 

You can't continue to spend your life dreaming about it, wishing about it, thinking about it and wondering if it will ever happen. You have to take the risks necessary for God to bring to pass your most cherished dreams.

Some of God's most faithful servants from the Bible went out, went forward, moved on, sometimes not knowing how the gap between where they were and where they were going would be bridged.

They had ideas about how they needed to do it but they ultimately had to make their uncertain way, with God always before them. They had to go forward when things were not perfect or when there was opposition, when no one believed or supported them, when God did not tell them all of the facts.

They had to take steps, often with blind faith, to arrive where they wanted to be, where they should be and to where God promised them they could be. If they had kept waiting for things to be perfect or for situations to be the way that they thought they should be, they would never have went forward and obtained what God had already provided.   

Don't just dream about it. Make it happen, with the help of the Lord.




Sunday, March 6, 2022

Believing What We Pray For

In order to see the realization of our fondest personal prayers, we have to first believe what we pray for. We don't have to believe that we can do it through our own planning and orchestration but we do have to believe that we CAN receive them from God.

We also have to believe that we can be faithful in managing them after we receive them. This is one way to believe that our prayers will happen, that we'll be getting a favorable answer from God. 

The problem is that we pray for things that we're not committed to, that we're afraid of and that we don't even believe that we can really do. We pray pipe dreams, fanciful hopes or plans that would come to naught if we were given them. This is one reason that in our hearts we secretly say, "I don't believe my prayers will come true." Why don't we truly believe what we are praying?

Many Christians promote that we should ask God for big things, impossible things, things that are beyond what we can do on our own. Yes, we should, but we still have to believe in our own prayers. We have to believe in what we are asking for to improve our lives. We have to believe in the prayers that we pray on our behalf.

How is it possible to receive what we unconsciously don't believe? It is not possible because we would miss all of the signs and open doors that would lead to obtaining the favorable answers that we desire. The challenges that we would see would be obstacles to us instead of opportunities. Because of that, we would blindly pass them by.

In fact, we already see many challenges as insurmountable obstacles or we would not be asking God for help. What exactly are we asking for though? How can we start our journeys to believing what we pray for?  

There's something between the prayers and the receiving of the answer to the prayers that we ask. It is us. We have to work with God and it's up to each one of us to work out what our place is in the fulfillment of the desires.

When we understand that, we can then work with God and receive favorable answers to our fondest supplications. What if we can't see our part in it? What if we just wait for God to do it, like we've been doing?

If we can't understand what our place or part is in believing in our prayers, then maybe we should not be praying for those things or praying in that way. Maybe that is why deep down in our hearts we don't believe what we are asking. 

Maybe our prayers need to be adjusted or re-designed. Maybe the focus of our fondest hopes needs to be altered. Is it possible that we even need to replace a long-standing prayer for another, more accurate one?

If we ask our Father God to help us to develop accurate prayers, he will do it. We don't want to keep spending time and energy on prayers that are never going to happen because we don't believe them. We don't want to spend a lifetime praying inauthentic prayers.

We want to pray prayers that move things, that change things, that bring things to pass. We want to pray prayers that are faith-filled, accurate and effective. Words come first and powerful, faith-filled words bring things into being. These scriptures make it plain:

Proverbs 18:21 Death and life are in the power of the tongue.

Hebrews 11:3 Things which are seen were not made of things which are visible.

Our prayers are our tongues, our words and the things which are not seen, the invisible things. The things that we are praying for, on our behalf, are the things which are seen, that can be brought into being by our unseen prayer words, if they are accurate. 

The world does not respect or honor God, but the world understands many truths that we ignore. We can learn from the truths that those who do not love God nor his Son are telling us everyday. The knowledge all belongs to God. They don't care to realize it but their knowledge belongs to God. We can take it, along with the Scriptures, and work with God to pray prayers that we can believe in.

I don't know if Dr. Margie Warrell worships God or not but she says this in her article Your Words Create Your Reality:

The words you speak hold power. Power to create new possibilities or to close them down. We unconsciously sabotage our success. Whatever direction your words lead, your mind, body and environment will follow. It’s therefore extremely important to be intentional about the words you use.

We can make our prayers, our words, the fruit of our tongues authentic so that we can believe them and work with God in bringing them to pass.



Sunday, February 27, 2022

Should I Be In This Relationship?


All Christians are at various levels of growth, though we are all sisters and brothers in Christ. However, just because a person is a Christian doesn't mean that what they have to offer in association with you is pure, edifying, honest, worthy or supported by God.
When the Bible says "How can two walk together unless they be agreed?", that can pertain to Christians also. It's not only a matter for Christians in association or relationship with non-Believers. It's important to consider between Christians, especially when it comes to young Christians and those who are more experienced and advanced. We should always be asking ourselves what is a Christian Relationship in reference to our upward walk? 

Just because someone says that they are a brother or sister in Christ does not mean that they would make a good friend, spouse, business partner, spiritual mentor or other. Some Christians are constantly growing and some Christians never grow up in Christ. Many Christians want to grow and many do not. It's an individual choice which means that all Christians are not compatible.

Babes in Christ and those who refuse to submit themselves to God's requirements for growth are still carnally-minded. They are still operating in the ways of death. (Romans 8:6) Whether they will choose to grow in Christ Jesus always remains to be seen.
When it comes to romance and dating, new Christians have not yet had time to develop pure Christian dating principles. It is difficult for them to receive and understand the necessity of Biblical dating principles because they haven't yet had time to absorb enough of the Word of God to begin to manifest their transformation. Others have chosen not to eat and drink the Word daily. In doing so, they have chosen not to be transformed by the renewing of their minds. (Romans 12:2) Maybe they will later but again, maybe they won't.

We are experienced in Christ. We are advanced. We should not be embracing into our lives everyone who identifies as Christian. Wisdom and common sense tells us that we should be applying Matthew 7:20 and 1 John 4:1, in one way or another, to all of our relationships and potential affiliations. Evaluation takes time. The more the potential for our Christian advancement to be compromised the longer that evaluation should take. That means watch and wait before we embrace connections.

You say that as an advanced, growing Christian you can help the babes to higher heights in God. There is some truth to that because the Scriptures encourage the strong to help the weak. That thinking with undisciplined, unwise actions, however, is how many growing Christians have downfalls. Those downfalls become harder and harder to overcome.

Some Christians will never be compatible with us. The inability to accept this can lead to discord, disappointment, emotional exhaustion, sorrow, loss, tragedy, the undermining of our Christian faith and more. None of it is necessary if we accept the truth and value the riches of our growth, rather than the lure of compromise. 

Understanding this should also impact our Christian business relationships definition. We should always be measuring our business alliances with the ruler of God's Word and our advanced knowledge in Christ. As you well know, growing in Christ is often a lonely life. While we can look forward to rewards, even here and now, it's not easy to take that journey and stay in the path. It takes:

  • becoming more spiritually-minded everyday,
  • learning to crucify the flesh,
  • being purged and pruned by the Holy Spirit,
  • being cut by the Word of God,
  • learning to resist the devil,
  • learning how to cast down imagination,
  • learning to deny ourselves at times,
  • learning to be moderate in all things,
  • learning to walk humbly,
  • learning to not think more highly of ourselves than we should while being thankful and grateful,
  • letting God have his way,
  • learning to recognize God's will,
  • being obedient to God's will,
  • continually giving more over to God,
  • suffering with Christ in all the ways that God ordains,
  • and more wonderful things like that.
I know you get that I'm saying those last few words with tongue-in-cheek, with a little humor sprinkled in but they are oh so true. For those who want to go higher in Christ in this world, who want more of God, who want to live a life of storing up riches in Heaven where the moths and rusts of this fallen, dying world cannot corrupt them and steal our rewards, it is the desired way. Being purged by God is welcomed. It can be exhausting but we'd rather be exhausted for The Kingdom than exhausted for the world, the flesh and the devil, like we were in the old days.
Many accept Christ but never take the first step onto the narrow path of transformation and renewal. Many think they have given it all over to God. Many know that they have not. However, in their secret heart, the minute that a spiritual offense comes, the minute that they suspect that God wants more from them, they choose not to move forward. There is no compatibility with those who do not want to grow in Christ and those who are. Good Christian friends are those who are on an upward track of continual growth, similar to ours.
Those who don't want to grow think that those who are growing are fanatics and over-doers. They are still blind and conceited and will try to undermine the growing Christian and convince us in subtle ways that we don't need all of that. How do we know? We were there once! We may not have consciously tried to undermine other Christians, but we had thoughts of not needing all of that that an advanced Christian displayed. They were spiritually beyond us. 
Don't allow your hard-won development and maturity in Christ to be compromised by not recognizing the difference between you being sold-out to Christ and someone who is not. Don't be brought down by anyone who, by virtue of their lack of growth, is still dabbling in the dark places from where you came or who simply doesn't want to go higher in Christ.

Be friendly with care, mentor with care, relate with care, exhort with care, partner with care, share with care, be compassionate with care, join with care, contract with care, remembering always that the Bible makes it plain. Two cannot walk together unless they are agreed. (Amos 3:3) That goes for any association that we have or could have in this world, whether it's with one person or fifty. 


  

Monday, February 21, 2022

Wisdom For Life's Trials: Dr. Charles Stanley On What It Means To Count It All Joy

In this 30 minute message, Dr. Charles Stanley helps us to understand what God means when he tells us to count it all joy when we struggle and suffer in difficult times.

It really blessed me, especially when he said that God knows that we don't like him at all at certain times. When he said that we may as well tell God exactly how we feel because he knows anyway, that is a practice that I've developed.

When I pray and throughout the day as I talk to Our Heavenly Father, I share with him exactly how I feel about everything. It takes such a burden off of me. I'm still working on doing better.

We, in this world, have been so used to shouldering feelings and attitudes that it's automatic. Just like when we attempt to solve our issues ourselves, we just don't think about telling God. When we have bad feelings, we don't think about telling him.

I don't lift up any preacher, teacher, pastor, minister or anyone with a Christian title as being a model of perfection. I don't promote anyone who shares Christian knowledge as someone whom everyone should listen to and follow. I do enjoy sharing messages, and occasionally music, when I am blessed.  

Dr. Stanley has always had such a calm and comforting voice. He is a teacher who will help you ascend to the next level of your walk with Christ. I like to learn from his son also, Andy Stanley. This is an interesting story that defined his impression of his father.


His dad was the Associate Pastor of First Baptist in Atlanta when the senior pastor was asked to resign. Charles Stanley was asked to preach on Sundays until a suitable replacement could be found. As he preached, the pews began to fill, young couples started to return, the youth ministry started to grow and volunteerism grew to an all-time high. There was a new excitement in the church.

Yet some of the longtime members of the church resented Charles Stanley's growing influence and popularity. It didn't help that there was a grass roots movement started to elect him as pastor. The old guard thought he was too young, too evangelistic and too spiritual, emphasizing a personal relationship with Jesus.

The powerbrokers started to politic to have Charles Stanley removed. People started to take sides. Two weeks before the vote to hire or fire Charles Stanley, Deacon Myers walked up to the pulpit as the Wednesday night service began. He started to talk about the growing controversy and as he did, horror upon horror, he used the word damn.

Charles Stanley calmly walked to the pulpit and said, Now you need to watch your language. With clinched fists the man responded, You need to watch yourself or you might get punched. Charles Stanley didn't back down or step away and then all of sudden Deacon Myers reared back and punched his dad.

His dad didn't retaliate. It was his dad's response to all this that marked Andy for life. He stepped right back up and stood by Deacon Myers. Andy Stanley said, In that moment I wanted to be that kind of man. From that moment on, it didn't matter what anybody said. Because actions speak louder than words.

That event revealed his dad's character. When we open the pages of scripture, we discover that character is defined by the very nature of Jesus Christ- a stumbling block for some but a rock solid foundation for others. Character is the will to do what is right, as defined by God, regardless of personal cost. Andy Stanle
SermonCentral 

Sunday, February 13, 2022

Stop Anxiety In Its Tracks!

An anxiety-ridden man asked this at a FBook group that I recently visited:

What should you do if you’ve divorced and currently remarried? How do you truly repent from this? Should you divorce a second time -the person that you’re currently with? And what about the children involved?

My advice to him was:

Simply ask God to forgive you for any wrong decisions that you have made. Believe that he has forgiven you through the Blood of Jesus and it is done. Ask him to lead you on how to proceed but stay where you are for now. Don't hurt any more people, including yourself, by making decisions and taking actions that you don't yet understand. Love your children. Stay where you are until you get direction otherwise from God. Accept where you are and continue to build yourself up in your most Holy faith. Blessings to you, your family, friends and to everyone in your circle.

I try to remember to take the advice that I am always giving to others, and it is this:

If you don't know what to do, pray and turn it over to God. Then, if you don't know what to do, do nothing. If you're not sure what to do, but you must make a decision, do what makes the best sense to you while waiting on God.

We are always to wait on God, but often a decision must be made immediately. We can't help that. God will give us an immediate answer, or he won't. One thing that he has already instilled in us is common sense. If we must make a decision and we don't yet have clear direction from God, we must use our common sense.

If we are afraid and must make a decision, we have to do it afraid if we don't have clear direction from God. An ideal situation would be for us to not have to make a decision yet. Whether we make a decision or not, whether we make a move or not, whether we choose one way or another, we are always dependent upon God. 

So, stop anxiety in its tracks! Pray and give it to God. Right now. Do nothing if you don't know what to do. Do what makes sense to you if you have to make a decision now.

Keep stopping anxiety in its tracks by reminding yourself often that it all is in the hands of Our Father. Remember that because we love and trust him and have a prayer session of giving the issue to him, we can't hurt his plan for us through any decision that we make.