Giving for God

 

Everything we have is a gift from God – everything.  Our finances, our talent, our intellect, our wisdom, our time, and everything else we have at our disposal is a gift from God.  We all have some measure of wealth that we’ve accumulated.  If we are limited in our financial wealth, we likely have intellectual wealth, our possibly a wealth of time or talent.  The Bible tells us that we are to use our wealth to honor God.  When we do this, we will be blessed by God with even more wealth.

“Honor the Lord from your wealth, and from the first of all your produce; then your barns will be filled with plenty, and your vats will overflow with new wine.”  Proverbs 3:9-10

Bring Honor to God

It’s impossible for us to give more than God has given to us, because He never stops giving; and we should be dedicated to the task of giving as well.  We need to give what we can financially.  We need to give of our talents when and wherever we can.  We need to give of our intellect in a way that benefits others.  We need to give generously of our time serving God by serving others.  Everything we give brings honor to God and is therefore a gift to God.  Of course, God doesn’t need our gifts but He delights in our gift-giving and rewards our sincere sacrifice with more of that which we have gifted.

“Give, and it will be given to you. They will pour into your lap a good measure—pressed down, shaken together, and running over. For by your standard of measure it will be measured to you in return.”  Luke 6:38

You Will be Blessed

Our gift-giving takes on a significant amount of weight in the eyes of God when it is directed toward the cause of Christ.  When we give to our local church, to Christian missionaries, or to any other endeavor dedicated toward expanding the kingdom of God, we can be certain to be blessed as long as our motives are pure.   This is not limited to financial gifts, but also applies to those who frequently give of their time and talents to help build and establish God’s kingdom.

“Truly I say to you, there is no one who has left house, or wife, or brothers, or parents, or children for the sake of the kingdom of God, who will not receive many times as much at this time, and in the age to come, eternal life.”  Luke 18:29-30

Share in the Work of the Lord

Giving to God is the process of taking what he has given to us and sharing it with others.  In so doing, we give God honor, worship, and praise.  God intentionally made us all different, and has supplied each of us with different forms of wealth.  We are all part of God’s complex mechanism designed to work together for His glory.  Our sacrificial giving on God’s behalf is a practical form of worship.  Worship without sacrifice is empty.  Praise God for all that you have.  Praise God for the opportunity to give.  Praise God for placing you in exactly the right place to share in the work of the Lord.

 

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

The Spirit of Truth

The Spirit of Truth

 

Believers are indwelled with the Holy Spirit the moment they accept Jesus Christ as their Lord and Savior.  That is a permanent residency.  We can count on this connection to God every minute of every day.  The Holy Spirit helps us face all of the challenges of life through the power of God.  The Holy Spirit helps us understand the will of God, points us in the right direction, and stands with us in times of despair.

“I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper, so that He may be with you forever; the Helper is the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it does not see Him or know Him; but you know Him because He remains with you and will be in you.”  John 14:16-17

The Ultimate Guide

There is no better guide in life than the Holy Spirit.  He knows each of us intimately – past, present, and future.  We feel his presence every time we come to a crossroad and aren’t sure which way to turn.  We may feel a heaviness in our heart guiding us away from one choice and a deep inner peace pulling us in the direction of the will of God.  We have to stay open to the promptings of the Holy Spirit so we don’t miss His instruction.  We have to stay in communication with the Holy Spirit in prayer and through our study of the Bible.  When we remain in tune with the Holy Spirit, our lives are perfectly positioned to accomplish every task the Lord places in our path.

“By this we know that we remain in Him and He in us, because He has given to us of His Spirit.”  1 John 4:13

Child of God

We know we are being guided by the Holy Spirit when we seem to be empowered by supernatural strength and wisdom, when resources seem to come out of nowhere, and when those around us are filled with words of encouragement.  The Holy Spirit knows precisely what we need to fully enjoy our relationship with Jesus, and He enables us to achieve all that we can in the Lord.  There isn’t anything the Holy Spirit can’t handle.  As children of God, we are safely in the hands of the Holy Spirit every minute of every day.

“For all who are being led by the Spirit of God, these are sons and daughters of God.”  Romans 8:14

Revealing the Truth

The Holy Spirit is with us to reveal the truth.  He is our direct line to all the knowledge of God.  When we obey the promptings of the Holy Spirit we are walking in the footsteps of Jesus.  Don’t allow this world to disrupt your connection to the Holy Spirit.  If needed, find a quiet place to pray and listen carefully for His guidance.  Trust Him always!  He will never point you in the wrong direction.  You will be greatly blessed when you depend fully on the Spirit of Truth.

 

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

God’s Viral Video

 

 

God’s Viral Video

 

I’m going to ask you to use your imagination as you read this post.  I’d like you to erase all your knowledge of Christianity for a few minutes to consider this…

Imagine, if you will, a man suddenly appearing in public claiming to be the Son of God.  Not a son of God, but thee Son of God.  Imagine this man claiming that he is not only the Son of God, but he is identical to God – with all of God’s wisdom and power.  Imagine he claims to be one with God.  Of course, our immediate reaction would be to dismiss this man as delusional.  Why would God appear on earth as a man traveling around preaching peace and love?

Miracle Videos

But what if this man demonstrated his power by healing the sick, bringing sight back to the blind, and even bringing dead people back to life?  What if there were hundreds of videos showing these miracles?  What if they just kept happening day after day and the videos were proved to be legitimate – not some kind of trick?  A video of a dead man coming back to life would most certainly go viral.  Everyone would try to debunk the video as fake.  But what if the eyewitnesses corroborated the story and demonstrated beyond any doubt that all these miracles happened?  And what if these miracles just kept happening day after day?

Government Feels Threatened

Eventually the authorities would want to talk with this man.  They would want to know why he was disrupting the natural order of our society with outrageous claims and cleverly manufactured miracles.  But what if they couldn’t figure out how these miracles were being manufactured?  What if they determined this man to be a threat to the power of government and decided to arrest him and put him on trial?

Of course the many followers this man had accumulated would be upset; but the fact that the government was accusing him of trickery, might make some skeptical.  The hope would be that the trial would uncover the truth; however, what if the government was corrupt?  What if the government stacked the deck against this man and railroaded him into a death penalty verdict?

Death Penalty

Now imagine, if you will, this man placed on death row.  Imagine he is left in a room with a group of other death penalty inmates who mock his claim to be equal to God and are determined to teach him a lesson.  Imagine, with the prison guard’s blessing, the other inmates are allowed to beat and kick this man to within an inch of his life.  Of course all of this would be reported on the news and many would be wondering why this man did not use his powers to overcome the beating from the inmates.  Video from the prison security cameras would create another viral video. Doubts would begin to fill the minds of even this man’s strongest allies.

Execution

Now imagine that because the corrupt government was so threatened by this man they offered him no chance for appeal and immediately carried out his execution.  Imagine his dead body was placed in a morgue cold storage drawer on Friday and left to be recovered for burial on Monday.  Imagine the storage drawer was locked, and the building was locked, and there was a surveillance camera on the storage drawer all through the weekend.

The Greatest Viral Video of All Time

What would happen if the morgue cold storage drawer was found empty on Monday and the Son of God was seen preaching to a large group of his followers that afternoon?  It seems to me, this viral video would never stop collecting views.  It would probably continue to be shared in some form for thousands of years.  It seems to me it would be impossible to deny the Son of God’s claims.

 

Obedience to God

 

Obedience to God

 

Often, when we think of obedience, we conjure up images of working under the watchful eye of a ruthless task master.  Obedience to God is nothing like that.  Obedience to God simply means following the teachings of Jesus – not to avoid negative consequences – not to receive a blessing.  We obey God because we love him and know in our heart that His instruction and guidance is the absolute best path forward.

“For this is the love of God, that we keep His commandments; and His commandments are not burdensome.”  1 John 5:3

The Purpose of Life

Following the teachings of Jesus gives our lives purpose, meaning, and makes everything we do worthwhile.  The Bible supplies us with an understanding of what it means to obey God; however, sometimes the right path forward is not perfectly clear.  As believers, we only need to listen for the nudging of the Holy Spirit to ascertain God’s choice for our lives in any given circumstance.  The more we study the Word of God and the more time we spend in prayer, the easier it will be to connect with the Holy Spirit and discern what obedience to God requires.  Keep in mind, our obedience to God in small matters is equally as important as it is in larger matters.  Small acts of service to God can lead to large blessings for us and for those who are in our sphere of influence.  Of course, we should not serve in ordered to receive a blessing, we should serve because it pleases God; however, following the teachings of Jesus always returns a blessing of some kind.

“Blessed are those who hear the word of God and follow it.”  Luke 11:28

Walking with the Lord

It’s important that we remain sensitive to God’s instruction as we go about our daily lives.  When we keep our hearts and minds focused on God, we develop a sixth sense that makes knowing God’s will a simple matter of turning one way rather than another.  Walking with the Lord is an insurance policy like no other; the benefits are tremendous. When we obey God, we will never be disappointed.  Serving God by following the teachings of Jesus, guarantees enormous reward in this life and the life to come.

“Behold, I am coming quickly, and My reward is with Me, to reward each one as his work deserves.”  Revelation 22:12

Following God’s Direction

The world we live in has a way of overwhelming our lives with meaningless clutter.  We have an enemy that works overtime pushing us away from God and making a bold attempt to move us off in the wrong direction.  It’s important that we frequently take some time throughout our day to asses our next steps of obedience to God.  No matter what direction God is guiding you, know deep in your heart his instruction is the best course of action for you and those around you.  There is absolutely nothing as important as our obedience to God.  Following the teachings of Jesus, serving God by serving others, and sharing God’s love at every opportunity, will fill your life with joy and peace.

 

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

Walk by Faith

Walk by Faith

 

We all have disappointments in our lives.  Disappointment is part of God’s plan.  There is nothing gained by a life without adversity.  Disappointment is an opportunity to learn and grow in the Lord.  As followers of Jesus, we are blessed with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to guide us through the challenges of our disappointments.  There’s no need for discouragement when we walk with Jesus.

Our Relationship with Jesus

The world we live in is filled with a constant barrage of voices telling us that we are not smart enough, not wealthy enough, not successful enough, or in any number of ways not measuring up to the current standard.  Know this:  Our profession, our bank account, our social status in this world does not define us.  We are defined by our relationship with Jesus.  Our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ is far more valuable than anything this world has to offer.

“We walk by faith, not by sight.”  2 Corinthians 5:7

We can completely avoid the discouragement of our disappointments when we walk by faith and not by sight.  Our spiritual abundance overwhelmingly tips the scale in our favor.  There’s nothing in this world that we cannot do without.  Everything we need is found in our walk with God.  When we encounter disappointment, the assurance of our identity in Christ will give us the confidence we need to continue moving forward to another victory.

Knowing God

“Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, partakers of a heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our confession: Jesus.”  Hebrews 3:1

Our relationship with Jesus is that which gives us intimate knowledge of God.  Through Jesus, we come to know God’s plan for our lives.  When we carefully consider the teachings of Jesus, our path forward becomes clearly evident.  We each have a unique path designed by God.  Our mission is to serve God by serving those around us that God has supernaturally placed in our lives.  No amount of disappointing circumstances has the ability to derail God’s plan.  Praise God no matter what obstacle stands in the way.

 “Even if the fig tree does not blossom, and there is no fruit on the vines, if the yield of the olive fails, and the fields produce no food, even if the flock disappears from the fold, and there are no cattle in the stalls, yet I will triumph in the Lord, I will rejoice in the God of my salvation.  The Lord God is my strength, and He has made my feet like deer’s feet, and has me walk on my high places.”  Habakkuk 3:17-19

Let Jesus Take Control

None of the enemy’s distractions has the ability to overpower God’s plan.  As long as we stay focused on our relationship with Jesus, we will ultimately be rewarded.  We can’t allow this world’s disappointments to control us.  We have to give every element of control to Jesus.  If we walk by faith and not by sight, our desire for worldly status will disappear and our lives will be filled with blessings from God.

 

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

The Family of God

The Family of God

 

Every follower of Jesus Christ is part of the family of God.  It doesn’t matter what denomination you are, everyone who has trusted Jesus as their Lord and Savior is part of the family of God.

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name.”  John 1:12

Celebrate

Let’s celebrate together all those things that we have in common and put aside our differences so that our Father in heaven will be proud of us.  How blessed we are to know God!  How blessed we are to walk in His presence and feel his hand guiding our lives.  We all share wonderful moments in our lives that were clearly orchestrated by God.  What a joy it is to recognize those times God poured out His love to bless our lives or answer our prayers.  How comforting it is to know that our loving God is with us every minute of every day.  His love is overwhelming!

“And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind, and with all your strength.”  Mark 12:30

God’s love fills our hearts to overflowing.  We can’t help but share that love with others.

“You shall love your neighbor as yourself.”  Mark 12:31

As a follower of Jesus, His commandment to love our neighbor comes naturally. As a follower of Jesus, reaching out to those in need comes naturally.

“Pure and undefiled religion in the sight of our God and Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their distress, and to keep oneself unstained by the world.”  James 1:27

Keeping ourselves “unstained by the world” is not always easy, but when we walk with Jesus our power to overcome the enemy is inexhaustible; and our willingness to sacrifice ourselves for the good of others in also inexhaustible when we trust Jesus.

“And do not neglect doing good and sharing, for with such sacrifices God is pleased.”  Hebrews 13:16

Children of God

As children of God, let’s celebrate our desire to follow the early church recorded in the book of Acts, and devote ourselves to the Holy Scripture, to fellowship with other believers, to constant prayer, and to the sharing of meals together as an expression of our shared inheritance.

“They were continually devoting themselves to the apostles’ teaching and to fellowship, to the breaking of bread and to prayer.”  Acts 2:42

Finally, let’s celebrate all the sincere followers of Jesus who joyfully share their faith with others and demonstrate that faith every day through lives that shine the light of God’s love on the world.

“Little children, let’s not love with word or with tongue, but in deed and truth.”  1 John 3:18

Glorify God

We are the family of God; all brothers and sisters in the Lord.  Nothing is more important than our relationship with Jesus, and our connection to one another.  Lift up your heart in prayer for your family!  Sing a joyous song of blessing for your salvation!  I pray that our God will grant you to be of the same mind with one another, fully immersed in the teachings of Jesus, and thereby with one voice and one purpose you may glorify the God and Father of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Amen!

 

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

Spending Time with God

 

Spending Time with God

 

God created only one of you.  You are a completely unique creation of God.  There is no one else like you on this earth.  You were created by God as part of a complicated and highly sophisticated mechanism.  Your contribution to the function of this mechanism is critical.  If you don’t do your part – it won’t get done.  No one else can do what you’ve been assigned by God to accomplish.  That may sound like a heavy burden, but it’s not.  You don’t have to accomplish your mission in your own power – you can’t accomplish your mission in your own power.  You accomplish your mission by connecting to the power of God.

“For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline.”  2 Timothy 1:7

Opportunities

Every aspect of your life, including your friends, family, the people at work or at school, and all the incidental people you encounter on any given day, are part of your mission.  How you interact with these people determines the effectiveness of your mission.  Some of these encounters will be opportunities for you to grow closer to God, and others will be opportunities for you to help others grow closer to God.  You don’t need to know which is which.  God is in complete control.  What you need to know is what God expects of you in any given situation.

Love Your Neighbor

If you’ve spent any time reading the Bible, you likely have a basic understanding of God’s expectation of us to love our neighbor; however, God’s expectation is often difficult to achieve.  We all have our weaknesses and frailties that sometimes cause us to stumble in our efforts to show God’s love in certain circumstances.  In addition, we have an enemy in this world that is actively trying to separate us from God’s love by pushing us off in the wrong direction.  Fear not.  There is a way to overcome our limitations and protect ourselves from the schemes of the enemy.

Stand Firm

“Therefore, my beloved brothers and sisters, be firm, immovable, always excelling in the work of the Lord, knowing that your labor is not in vain in the Lord.”  1 Corinthians 15:58

By standing firm in our commitment to seek and share God’s love, we will grow stronger and become more accomplished at following God’s path in any given situation.  Standing firm with God is a simple matter of connecting with Him on a regular basis.  The everyday struggles of life are designed by the enemy to disconnect us from God.  It is for this reason that we will frequently find ourselves in need to get reconnected.  This is why the Bible teaches us to constantly be in prayer, to study the Word of God, and to have fellowship with other believers; however, in today’s world this is not enough.  The enemy is relentless and will take every opportunity to hide God’s love.  If we don’t have a comprehensive plan to block the efforts of the enemy, we will most certainly be caught by one of his snares.

The Power of God

The power of God is available to us every minute of every day.  We can connect to that power through prayer, reading the Bible, or spending time with other believers.  These activities are like extensions cords that plug us into the power of God. But they are not the only way to get connected.  When we serve God by serving others, we will instantly feel a regeneration of God’s power and love.  Taking a few minutes to watch a Christian devotional video, or read from your favorite Christian devotional book, are also examples of extension cords that will plug you into the power and love of God.  Finally, doing what you know to be the will of God in your life is probably the best way to connect with God.

“Come close to God and He will come close to you.”  James 4:8

Stay Connected

Standing strong in the face of the enemy’s distractions is not an easy task.  Our only hope is in our connection to God.  The more time we spend with God each day, the better connected we will be.  If we start our morning with prayer and then seek a variety of ways to spend time with God each day, we will be protected from our own inadequacies and from the schemes of the enemy.  Spending time with God is the only way to develop our spiritual maturity.  When we spend time with God on a regular basis, we will become more like Him each and every day.

 

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

Trust God Not Yourself

 

 

 

 

Trust God Not Yourself

 

There’s a common myth that our Christian lives are filled with blessings and all of our struggles are left behind.  Of course, those of us who have been following Jesus for more than a few years, know all too well this is simply not the case.  The life of a believer is filled with ups and downs, blessings and trials, good times and difficult times.  This is God’s design.  Nothing is gained from a life without struggle.  God uses various challenges in our lives as tools to help us grow stronger and build up our endurance.

“Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters, when you encounter various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces endurance. And let endurance have its perfect result, so that you may be perfect and complete, lacking in nothing.”  James 1:2-4

Test of Faith

God places trials in our lives to test our faith.  God wants us to learn to depend on Him rather than our own talents and resources.  We all have a natural tendency to try and fix things in life on our own by opening up our bank account, leaning on our own special abilities, or trusting the personal connections we’ve cultivated with the power of our personalities.  “God is opposed to the proud, but gives grace to the humble.”  (James 4:6)  When we trust these things more than we trust God, they have become an idol to us.  God wants us to humble ourselves before him, realizing that all of our resources and talents were gifts from His hand.  We need to keep in mind that God can take away His gifts if He believes they have become a source of pride that is disrupting our relationship with Him.

Devotion to God

All of us who have been traveling with the Lord for more than a few years, can cite a number of difficulties that were clearly resolved by God’s hand.  These surprising solutions seem to come out of nowhere and have God’s signature written all over them.  God loves us deeply and wants us to rest completely in the understanding that we are not self-sufficient – God is in complete control.  “When I am afraid, I will put my trust in You.  In God, whose word I praise, in God I have put my trust; I shall not be afraid.  What can mere mortals do to me?”  (Psalm 56:3-4)   God’s primary desire is that we let go of our self-control and wholeheartedly accept His eternal support. God will care for us and sustain us in the best possible way when we relinquish our personal pride in favor of complete devotion to Him.

Perseverance

It takes perseverance to accept difficult situations without giving up.  Our trust in God to ultimately correct the problem is the fuel of that perseverance.  If we are impatient and move ahead on our own initiative, we are essentially rejecting God.  God’s timing is always best.  God uses adversity to build our character, reveal our strengths and weaknesses, and point us in a new direction.  You can be certain these are lessons worth learning.  When our lives take a difficult turn, we have to resist the urge to go it alone and trust God, not ourselves.

 

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

Go with God

Go with God

 

For most of us, life is a series of up and downs, good times followed by difficult times, rewards and challenges, confidence and uncertainty.  Like it or not, that is God’s design; however, God’s design also includes the opportunity for divine assistance.  When we place our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ as payment for our misdeeds, we not only receive the gift of eternal life, but we also become children of God.  We become permanently connected to the wisdom and power of our Creator.

“But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name, who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of a man, but of God.”  John 1:12-13

Children of God

As children of God we are no longer a victim of our circumstances – we are a partner with God in a lifetime mission He designed specifically for each of us.  Our lives are no longer random events that have no purpose – our lives are filled with a precise set of circumstances established by God and supported by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit as our ever present guide.  We no longer have problems – we have opportunities to experience the power of God in our lives.

“Now may the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that you will abound in hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.”  Romans 15:13

Faith Brings Victory

Our faith in our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ empowers our ability to travel through the fiercest storms, knowing without question, we will eventually find our way back to sunshine.  Our faith is the foundation of our relationship with God.  “And without faith it is impossible to please Him, for the one who comes to God must believe that He exists, and that He proves to be One who rewards those who seek Him.”  (Hebrews 11:6)  Our faith is the fuel that fills our heart with confidence in the face of enormous challenges.  When we faithfully endure our struggles in this world, we are standing alongside the long list of faithful believers found in Hebrews 11.  Noah, Abraham, Sarah, Moses, Rahab, David and all the others, are grand examples of faithful victories.  Even though a positive outcome seems impossible, our faith will carry us through, because we trust the Lord completely.  “Now faith is the certainty of things hoped for, a proof of things not seen.”  (Hebrews 11:1)  As faithful believers, we know God has a plan and purpose for every mountain that stands in our way.  We know the journey will be a rewarding victory if we simply remain faithful.

Keep Your Eyes on Jesus

Traveling through this world on our own is dangerous and unpredictable.  When we make the decision to go with God, the unpredictability is irrelevant and the danger no longer exists.  “And we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose.”  (Romans 8:28)  We know that God will reward our faithfulness.  We know that the longer we remain faithful, the stronger we become and the more valuable we are to God.  As long as we keep our eyes on Jesus, we will persevere.  We are never a victim of circumstance.  God can use any situation for our blessing and His glory.  He is always in complete control.  We are never alone when we go with God!

 

All scripture references are linked to Bible Gateway so that you can read each verse in context.  Bible Gateway allows you to change the verse to your favorite translation and compare it side-by-side with multiple translations.  In addition, you can select to hear an audio version of any verse by clicking on the speaker icon.  Keep the Bible Gateway App on your phone so that you can visit the Word of God at any time during your day.

Godly Relationships

 

 

Godly Relationships

 

Linda lived a quiet life alone in a small apartment, working five days a week as the receptionist for a local law firm.  On the weekends she spent time with a few close friends – hiking, bike riding, and sometimes camping.  She loved the outdoors.  She felt closer to God out in nature, marveling at His awesome creation.

“For since the creation of the world His invisible attributes, that is, His eternal power and divine nature, have been clearly perceived, being understood by what has been made.”  Romans 1:20

As a follower of Jesus, Linda wanted to honor Him in all her relationships.  She was always willing to engage anyone in conversation, but she worried some interactions might be detrimental to her walk with the Lord.  Linda was by no means obsessive about her spiritual discipline, but she did want to grow closer to God, and for this reason she decided to be more deliberate in her personal encounters.

Take Control

In order to quantify the value of her various personal encounters, Linda began taking notes after each interaction.  Her goal was to collect enough data to help her make some calculated decisions about the best way to share her time with others.  It didn’t take long for some important trends to materialize.

“Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.”  Proverbs 4:23

The first observation she made note of, was one that seemed obvious, but writing it down helped her be more cautious.  Her first recommendation was to not open her heart to everyone.  Some things should only be discussed with other believers, some things should only be discussed with older and wiser friends or family, some things should only be discussed privately with God.  Linda found she sometimes shared too much with strangers, or young people who were somewhat immature.  She determined a little more caution would eliminate some unnecessary emotions.

Look in the Mirror

Linda’s experiment also uncovered some things about herself that she encountered with others.  Occasionally, Linda would meet with someone new at the recommendation of a friend, only to discover the expectations fell far short of the friend’s description.  This observation made her realize that she was sometimes the recommended friend who did not measure up.  It became clear that her preconceived notions or the preconceived notions of others played a major impact in many encounters.  As a result, Linda made a decision to listen for the voice of God when meeting new people and not depend so much on the opinions of others.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding.  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.”  Proverbs 3:5-6

Finally, Linda’s research pointed her to a problem she needed to deal with.  She discovered she sometimes used her relationships with important people at the law firm where she worked to inflate her ego.  Of course there was nothing wrong with these relationships, but she came to the conclusion that she gave them too much value.  Instead, she vowed to in the future give more value to her humble and simple relationships – especially those who shared her love for God.

Our Number One Relationship

The ultimate take-away from Linda’s research was something we should all consider in our lives.  We should avoid becoming emotionally or spiritually dependent on other people.  Instead, we should seek a more intimate friendship with God.

 

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Humility Brings Peace