Showing posts with label Obedience. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Obedience. Show all posts

Sunday, January 22, 2023

A Way Out Or A Way Through?

The Lord promised in his Word, Psalm 23, that he would prepare a place before us in the presence of our enemies. This scripture was illuminated to me by the Holy Spirit and I discerned that it is not saying, necessarily, that God will remove the enemies from our lives. Maybe he will. Maybe he won't. Maybe he will at the time he has appointed. When we read this scripture however, we want immediate deliverance from our enemies' attacks.

We want so badly (especially those of us who have been suffering attacks for so long) for that passage to mean that God is going to wave his divine hand and say POOF! and the enemies and their attacks will be gone. Psalm 23 is revealing that the enemies are present to see our advancement, deliverance, success and favor in the midst of their evil. Thou shalt prepare a table in the presence of my enemies.

These people under the influence of rulers of the darkness of this world may or may not care. Seeing God's favor on us may make an immediate difference in their lives but it mostly likely will not. People who are bent on following the influence of principalities and powers are not quick to see their wrong.

We were there at one time, living reprobate lives, subject to any wicked thing against others, no matter how good we thought we were. We hurt people overtly and covertly, purposely and unconsciously. We know that it takes the timing of the Holy Spirit to bring us into His marvelous light of truth and set us on the path of transformation. It's up to God when and how our enemies are blocked from their access to us. 

We are quick to embrace a way out but is that best at this time? Is it God's good, acceptable and perfect will for us to have a way out on this stretch of our journey? When it is not the appointed time, a way out keeps us weak. A way through, alternatively, builds our faith and spiritual strength. 

After the way through comes the way out. I want increased faith to walk in the freedom of Christ and more power to destroy the works of the devil, don't you? That's the ultimate goal, the building up of our most holy faith and the reception of power from on high, no matter what our enemies are doing. 



Monday, December 19, 2022

Father Teach Us About Charity

Dear Father: 

Help us to receive a deeper understanding of the ways that we should allow charity to reign in our lives, for we know that it involves more than our initial thoughts on what love is. Thank you for the knowledge and help us to be more obedient. Amen!

Sunday, December 11, 2022

To Be Right Or To Be A Light?

The problem is that we want to be right instead of letting our lights shine. Being right means to be drawn into debates and arguments with people who wrongly criticize us. It can lead us to discouragement and neglect on the path that God has us on. When we argue and retaliate with those who subtly and covertly attack us we are basically agreeing with them. 

Letting our lights shine means to overlook the negative criticism and oppression of others and to respond kindly. It means to keep doing what we're doing and to stay in the center of the path that God has us on. We are to keep pressing on and to not look to the right hand or the left. This means to not get involved with defending ourselves and repaying evil for evil by cutting others down in like kind. 

You know what that statement says, The greatest revenge is massive success!"  We shouldn't be focused on revenge at all because that belongs to God. That quote is simply a soothing balm and positive motivation to not waste time and energy debating and retaliating. We need to keep to the mission or business that God has given each of us. Being the light means to respond to attempts to stop us with Godly grace, prompted by the Holy Spirit and to keep moving forward and looking ahead. Who cares about being right when there are so many benefits to being a light?





Sunday, December 4, 2022

Should I Do This? Should I Go In This Direction?


Don't be deceived! The devil is trying to take you down because you are growing in Christ and getting closer to God! Those thoughts that you've suddenly been having about who to long for, who to get involved with are not from the Holy Spirit.

Your reborn spirit knows it and the Holy Spirit is always working in you to raise you up above the beggardly elements of this world. 

Listen! Don't accept the lies from the father of lies! 

The Holy Spirit speaks pure, clear righteousness. You can't mistake what the Holy Spirit is saying with what wicked spirits are saying, unless you want to. 

Choose wisely and crush those rogue thoughts!

Rogue: fraudulent, shady, deceptive, dishonest, crooked, bent, underhand, treacherous, double-dealing, unethical.



Sunday, November 13, 2022

Our Desires And God


Delight yourself in the Lord and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4

Some Christians say this means that God will give you the desires that you should have. Other Christians say it means that he will fulfill the desires that you have always prayed for, your fondest wishes, your purest and most beneficial desires and long-standing hopes. I believe it is both. They both are important to Our Heavenly Father.

Our relationship with God should be a two-way street. If we don't believe that he cares about our desires, then we are not relating to him. It is of great value that we decide to hear his thoughts and plans each day but he also wants us to turn over to him our thoughts and plans. 

What about our long-standing desires that have not happened? Well, that doesn't mean that they will not, or that God has said no to them. We should continue to believe him that we will realize them, no matter how impossible or unlikely it seems. As we allow his will to come about in our lives, we will see how he imparts his desires for us into our desires. All will be well with us, always, as we grow in trusting him.

So, don't toss aside your most important goals and dreams. God cares for you. He cares about what is important to you. The most important thing is that you tell him what your desires are. Be specific and understand that he wants us to spell it out to him. In that way, we show that we believe he hears, cares and wants to communicate back and forth with us. He wants to hear from you as you purpose to hear from him each day. 



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 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, 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. 


  

Sunday, December 12, 2021

Healthy Faith Versus Foolish Faith

Many dangers that we fear today are justified. To move forward with plans that include these dangers, when we don't have to and when we know they exist, is foolish. It's misguided faith that is not faith at all, but a type of tempting God. We know that Our Father will help us when we make mistakes. Being resistant and disobedient to warnings is very different.

Faith in God's deliverance doesn't mean we should take any kind of risk and expect him to save us or repair the situation. If I feel that God is leading me, confirming my plans and opening doors, despite my anxieties and the obvious dangers, then it would be ok to move forward with the challenging goal. That would mean that He has a plan for my plan.

From Religion/Tempting God at encyclopedia.com:

It is tempting God for anyone to expect miraculous protection while neglecting the immediate and obvious ways of protecting oneself that divine providence has already provided. 

It also says that tempting God is when we don't heed and regard warnings and what we know in order to prevent and avoid misadventure. 

We can choose to trust God about anything that we want to do. It is personal and relative. However, before moving forward with questionable goals that can be alarming, we should ask ourselves,

  • is this a wise choice or is this just foolishness rooted in a rebellious desire to have our way?
  • Is our determination rooted in the fear that we won't obtain, in any other way, what we want?
  • Is our plan and the determination to enforce it a sign that we don't trust God?


When we make an unwise choice that we could have avoided, we end up blaming God when he doesn't prevent the negative results of our foolish actions. Our relationship with Our Heavenly Father is then damaged because of our unhappiness as a result of our presumptuous decisions.

Sometimes, we also bring upon ourselves the fears that are related to what we know we should not do, without a direct impression from God. That's why we end up kicking ourselves and paying heavy prices. We end up berating ourselves with inner statements like,

  • You knew this could happen, so why did you do it?
  • Why didn't you listen to your instincts?
  • Why didn't you listen to the reborn spirit within?
  • Why didn't you sincerely check with God first?
  • Why didn't you listen diligently for God's prompting one way or another?

If a goal that you have could be questionable, presumptuous, foolish or just plain dangerous in any way, stop and consider the wisdom of it, any fears that may be clear warnings and if your trust level in God is high enough regarding the fulfillment your desire.