Identifying God’s Instruction

 

The moment we accept Jesus Christ as our Lord and Savior, the Holy Spirit indwells us and remains with us as part of God’s everlasting promise to never leave us or forsake us.

“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another advocate to help you and be with you forever— the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you.”  John 14:16-17

The Holy Spirit is an awesome precious gift from God that serves as our guiding force and establishes our citizenship in the kingdom of God.

“This is how we know that we live in him and he in us: He has given us of his Spirit.”  1 John 4:13

Access to the Holy Spirit

If you’ve trusted Jesus Christ as your Lord and Savior, you have access to the Holy Spirit.  Unfortunately, interpreting the Holy Spirit’s instructions is not always easy.  We can’t type in a specific question and receive a detailed response the way we might search for answers on the Internet.  Our interaction with the Holy Spirit is more likely to be in the form of subtle guidance than a step-by-step plan.  God wants us to find our own way through life; and rather than give us all the answers, He prefers to simply point us in the right direction.  Even when we don’t know exactly what questions to ask, the Holy Spirit is there to speak on our behalf.

“In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.”  Romans 8:26-27

There are essentially two voices inside the heads of all believers.  One is the voice of this world filled with selfish desires.  The other voice is that of the Holy Spirit guiding you toward the light of truth.

“What we have received is not the spirit of the world, but the Spirit who is from God, so that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, explaining spiritual realities with Spirit-taught words.”  1 Corinthians 2:12-13

Messages from the Holy Spirit

Frequently, believers receive messages from the Holy Spirit when reading the Bible or listening to a trusted Bible teacher.   When a passage you’re reading or a word you are hearing sounds like it was written specifically for you, don’t discount it as a coincidence – recognize that teaching as guidance from the Holy Spirit.

God also uses the events in our life as teaching tools and as a form of guidance.  God may use a blessing of some kind to point us in a new direction.  God may use disappointment to point us in a new direction.  God may place us in a difficult situation to get us to focus in a new way.  No matter what is going on in your life, the Holy Spirit is with you helping you to make the right choices.  Whatever may come our way – defeat, financial troubles, tragedy, sickness, affliction – everything is a part of God’s instruction, managed and controlled by the Holy Spirit.

“We also glory in our sufferings, because we know that suffering produces perseverance; perseverance, character; and character, hope. And hope does not put us to shame, because God’s love has been poured out into our hearts through the Holy Spirit, who has been given to us.”  Romans 5:3-5

God is Always with You

God is constantly working to get our attention so that we will seek the guidance of the Holy Spirit and focus our lives on achieving that which is the will of God.  God knows precisely what we need in this life.   God also knows exactly what it will take to get our attention and get us pointed in the right direction.  The best way to identify God’s instruction is to stop asking why our lives are going in a certain direction and start asking God, in prayer, what He wants us to learn from our current experience.  God placed you right where you are because he knows that’s where you need to be.  If you ignore the voice of this world and tune into the voice of the Holy Spirit, you will find God’s instruction in every aspect of your life.

 

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.

With God You Can’t Lose

 

 

 

With God You Can’t Lose           

 

We all face difficult times that often come out of nowhere and overtake our lives with an overwhelming sense of dread.  How we respond to stressful challenges is a true measure of our relationship with God.  You may remember the familiar story from the book of Mark about a boat ride Jesus took with his disciples.  When the disciples became afraid of the wind and waves overtaking their boat, they didn’t understand how Jesus could remain calm. His response to their fear is a simple truth we all need to ponder, “He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?”  (Mark 4:40)  Then with little effort, Jesus stopped the wind and calmed the sea.

Trust and Obey

As followers of Jesus, we are to trust and obey.  When we focus our lives on following the teachings of Jesus, all of our battles are preordained to be victorious.  It is our faith in Jesus Christ that has provided us with the ultimate victory over death.  “Thanks be to God! He gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”  (1 Corinthians 15:57)  And His intervention on our behalf continues until the end of time.  We can’t lose with God on our side.  These times of extreme pressure are used by God to help us grow closer to Him.  Every challenge in our lives gives God a chance to demonstrate his faithfulness.  Ultimately, every one of these dark moments will be extinguished and resolved through the awesome power of God and a blessing will follow.

More than Conquerors

If we look back on our lives, we can easily identify times of despair that were turned around by God’s intervention.  Anyone who has been a believer for more than a few years can likely cite numerous examples of God’s love resolving what may have seemed like insurmountable odds.  “We are more than conquerors through him who loved us.”  (Romans 8:37)   No one and no disruptive force can successfully oppose God.  When we rely on the power of God rather than our own strength, we are unstoppable.  In every situation we need to look beyond our own abilities and take hold of the power of the Holy Spirit living inside.

Rely on the Power of God

Know this:  The strength and wisdom of your Lord and Savior will always prevail.  Reject those who are telling you otherwise.  Those who do not know Jesus have little understanding of what He can accomplish on our behalf; they depend on the flimsy tools of this world for their defense.  “The weapons we fight with are not the weapons of the world. On the contrary, they have divine power to demolish strongholds.”  (2 Corinthians 10:4)  As followers of Jesus, we are relying on the power of God.    All of our battles belong to the Lord.  When we respond to our struggles with a positive affirmation of our faith in Jesus, there is absolutely nothing that can stand in our way.  No matter what you are going through, declare out loud your ultimate victory as you joyfully endure God’s challenge.  Let your struggle move you closer to Him, and receive the strength and wisdom He will provide.  In the end, you will be greatly blessed.

 

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 Power of Prayer

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Power of Prayer

 

Contrary to popular belief, prayer is not God’s drive-thru window, where we can order up anything we want in life.  Prayer is our direct connection to God and should be used to acknowledge God’s awesome power and love, to give thanks for all of our blessings, and to seek His participation in our lives. Yes, God can perform a miracle in your life through prayer, but He is far more likely to point you in the right direction so that you can resolve any problems you might have on your own.  Prayer is where we access the power of God in our lives.   “I can do all this through Him who gives me strength.”  (Philippians 4:13)  Often, it is in prayer that we discover a new perspective and realize that God already has our problems well in hand.

Resist the Devil

Possibly the best use of prayer is in our fight against the wicked forces of the enemy.  We are in a battle between good and evil in this world, and we can’t win this fight on our own.  When our struggle is against darkness, our only hope is to resist with the bright light of truth found in the Word of God.  “Submit yourselves, then, to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Come near to God and he will come near to you.”  (James 4:7-8)  When we come to God in prayer, He will immediately fill our hearts with the needed love and fill our minds with the needed wisdom to overcome any and all schemes of the devil.

It is our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ that binds us to God forever and insures victory over the devil.  “Be alert and of sober mind. Your enemy the devil prowls around like a roaring lion looking for someone to devour. Resist him, standing firm in the faith.” (1 Peter 5:8-9)  As followers of Jesus, we know for certain in our heart that the battle has already been won.  It is through prayer that we connect with God and discover the precise steps needed to overcome the enemy.  Rather than seeking resolutions to our problems through prayer, God wants us to spend time in prayer in order to discover how we can resolve our problems on our own, in His power.

Seek God First

We can overcome the enemy in all cases when we connect with God through prayer and seek his advice, counsel, and power.  Working alone without first connecting with God is what the enemy wants us to do.  Don’t fall into that trap!  Seek God first in prayer and then move forward with His clear direction and support.  Ask God to guide you in your prayers rather than asking Him to miraculously resolve your struggles without any effort on your part. “Let the morning bring me word of your unfailing love, for I have put my trust in you.  Show me the way I should go, for to you I entrust my life.”  (Psalm 143:8)  Start every morning with prayer.  God wants us to be in an ongoing conversation with Him through prayer, all day every day.  No matter what the enemy throws at us, we will always be victorious when we take the Lord with us into battle.

 

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.

Adversity and God

Adversity and God

Adversity is the tool God uses to develop his followers into extraordinarily capable ambassadors in service to His eternal purpose.  We are in training for our eternal existence in the kingdom of God.  In much the same way we would train for any Olympic sport or any other athletic endeavor, we are challenged to our maximum in an effort to increase both our strength and ability to their full potential.  Athletic training is hard work and often painful.  Training to become a true servant of God is also hard work and often painful.  Keep in mind, no matter how difficult your life is today your faithful service to God will reap unimaginable rewards in your eternal life to come.

Adversity Helps Us Focus

The world we live in is filled with the enemy’s diversions.  It’s easy to get pulled off in the wrong direction and overwhelmed with worldly things rather than the things of God.  Adversity is sometimes used by God to open our eyes to the enemy’s misdirection and point the way to a more productive path forward.

Adversity Helps Us Learn to Trust God

Frequently, when we are challenged with adversity, we discover the solution is not within our own power and our only hope is to trust God completely.  We all have a tendency to try to solve our problems ourselves, and sometimes neglect to seek God’s help.  Those of us who have been walking with God for more than a few years, all have many examples of problems that were obviously solved by God, rather than as a result of our own strength. These are important moments in our relationship with the Lord.  These profoundly overwhelming experiences are used by God to strengthen our trust in Him.

Adversity Develops Perseverance

Just like lifting weights builds muscle, adversity builds perseverance.  The longer our spirit is able to endure difficult times the more useful we are in service to God.  The book of James begins with this familiar verse, “Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything.”  (James 1:2-4)  Athletes find joy in the hard work it takes to develop their strength.  In the same way, we are to find joy in the difficult times God uses to develop our spiritual awareness.

Adversity Demonstrates God’s Faithfulness

The stories about God’s faithfulness found in the Bible come alive when we experience it first-hand.  God would be unable to demonstrate His faithfulness without adversity.  Psalm 34:19 tells us this, “The righteous person may have many troubles, but the Lord delivers him from them all.”  Every time we experience God’s faithfulness in our life, our faith in Him is strengthened and we are more devoted to following His teaching.  We find this in 1 Peter 5:10“And the God of all grace, who called you to his eternal glory in Christ, after you have suffered a little while, will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast.”  We can count on God.  Every trip through the deep valley of adversity is a chance for God to guide us back to the mountain top where we can clearly see his never-ending faithfulness.

Adversity Prepares Us to Help Others

Probably one of the best byproducts of adversity is our ability to help others who are experiencing similar circumstances.  As we struggle to overcome difficult times, our connection to God is our greatest source of comfort.  When we find the path beyond our troubles, guided by the Holy Spirit, we are thereby gifted with the spiritual strength to comfort those who are still struggling.  2 Corinthians 1:3-4 tells us this, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.”  This verse is a perfect example of how God uses adversity to train believers to be His ambassador in service to others.

Adversity Prepares Us to Serve God by Serving Others.

Praise God for his thoughtful and compassionate use of adversity to help us grow in spiritual strength!  Like a celebrated Olympic coach, our Lord pushes all believers to the limits of their endurance and not beyond.  He stands ready to intercede on our behalf whenever needed; and He pushes us as hard as he can to achieve his ultimate goal of victory over the enemy.

 “We are hard pressed on every side, but not crushed; perplexed, but not in despair; persecuted, but not abandoned; struck down, but not destroyed.”  2 Corinthians 4:8-9

Challenging times are always in God’s control.  No matter what we are going through, God is with us.  God will never allow us to be overcome by adversity.  There is nothing in this world that can stand toe-to-toe with the awesome power of God.  No matter what we are facing, we will eventually find our way back into the loving arms of God – stronger, wiser, and ready to serve Him in a new way.  Every moment of adversity will one day be rewarded with unimaginable blessings from God.  If we keep our feet firmly planted on the rock of our salvation, we will never be disappointed and we will ultimately find a victory that goes on forever.

 

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.

Where are You?  Part Five

 

 

Where are You? – Part Five – Final Chapter

 

Where are YOU in your walk with the Lord?

PERSPECTIVE

In the book of Deuteronomy (28:1-2) we learn the simple formula for achieving God’s blessing.  “Now it shall be, if you diligently obey the Lord your God, being careful to do all His commandments which I am commanding you today, that the Lord your God will put you high above all the nations of the earth. And all these blessings will come to you and reach you if you obey the Lord your God.”  Then later in the book of Matthew (22:37-40) Jesus explains precisely what the most important commandments are for us to follow, “And He said to him, “‘You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, and with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the great and foremost commandment. The second is like it, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ Upon these two commandments hang the whole Law and the Prophets.”  Everything boils down to loving God and loving your neighbor.  All the laws found in the Old Testament are covered in these two simple to understand commandments.  That’s clear perspective!

Get the Big Picture

As we seek to carry out God’s grand design for our lives, it’s important for us to look back and recalculate the lessons learned.  At the same time, we need to take a careful inventory of everything going on in our lives right now – at this very moment.  Finally, we have to look out beyond the horizon and carefully plan for the future.  We will never be successful without this kind of clear perspective.  Our mission to achieve God’s calling in our life depends on an unencumbered view of the past, present, and future.  We need the history of God our Father, the salvation of Jesus Christ, and the daily guidance of the Holy Spirit.

GLORY TO GOD

Our ultimate goal is our eternal existence with God.  Glory to God for His awesome grace and for our salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ.  Glory to God for every moment of success we achieve in our quest to find our place in God’s master plan.  Glory to God for giving us the Holy Spirit to help point the way.  Glory to God for what is to come. “So also is the resurrection of the dead. It is sown a perishable body, it is raised an imperishable body; it is sown in dishonor, it is raised in glory; it is sown in weakness, it is raised in power; it is sown a natural body, it is raised a spiritual body. If there is a natural body, there is also a spiritual body.” (1 Corinthians 15:42-44)  We have a confirmed appointment with eternity.  Everything we do in this world is in preparation for that trip.

Your Walk with the Lord

Ponder these final thoughts before you continue your journey:  Seek the wisdom of sincere believers. Remain humble. Be diligent. Never stop learning. Give thanks. Seek nothing in return. Maintain a clear goal. Nurture your relationships. And always give glory to God.

VICTORY

Our eternal home is indescribable. What we know for certain is the life we are living in this world will not even be worth remembering in the world to come.   “The end of a matter is better than its beginning; patience of spirit is better than arrogance of spirit.” (Ecclesiastes 7:8)  As we patiently wait for the return of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, our mission is to realize God’s perfect design for our life.  Our goal is to discover God’s calling and find our place in His ultimate plan for the universe.  We each have a specific itinerary mapped out in complete detail.  When we lock in to those coordinates, we are on the road to fulfill our Creator’s plan for our life.  We simply need to pursue this calling with all of our heart, soul, mind, and strength.

“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

 

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.

Where are You?  Part Four

Where are You? – Part Four of Five

 

Where are YOU in your walk with the Lord?

FOCUS

Achieving God’s desired path in our life requires continuing education.  Our first source of knowledge is, of course, the Word of God, but we shouldn’t stop there.  There are many wise counselors in this world that can offer trusted guidance.  “Where there is no guidance the people fall, but in an abundance of counselors there is victory.”  (Proverbs 11:14)  Christianity is a fellowship of spirit-filled believers eager to assist one another.  God doesn’t expect us to do anything alone.  Fellowship is central to being a follower of Jesus.  Of course, finding the right counselor is critical to our success.  To that end, we need to seek God’s help, “But if any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all generously and without reproach, and it will be given to him.”  (James 1:5)  We need to ask God for the wisdom to know when to seek help and the wisdom to resolve situations on our own.

Study to be Approved

Our goal has to always be to master whatever is needed to achieve the mission God has placed before us.  Through careful Bible study and the advice of thoughtful Bible teachers, we will find a clear focused approach to resolve any situation.  “I have chosen the faithful way; I have placed Your judgments before me.  I cling to Your testimonies; Lord, do not put me to shame!  I shall run the way of Your commandments, for You will enlarge my heart.”  (Psalm 119:30-32)  God has filled the Bible with clear instructions for any and all difficulties we may encounter.  The more time we spend in the Word or with trusted Biblical guides, the more focused we will become and the easier it will be for us to see God’s path forward.

DETRACTORS & DISTRACTIONS

The enemy is the master of lies and manipulation.  His counterparts are those detractors who mock and ridicule all things Christian.  Together they attack sincere believers with every means of distraction.  When we encounter this kind of harassment, it’s easy to seek some form of retaliation – let go of those thoughts – seek peace instead.  “Never repay evil for evil to anyone.  Respect what is right in the sight of all people. If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all people.  (Romans 12:17-18)   The best thing we can do when we are confronted with those who are under the influence of the enemy, is walk away.  “Do not speak to be heard by a fool, for he will despise the wisdom of your words. (Proverbs 23:9 These kinds of people have been seduced by the devil and have nothing but foolishness to offer.  “The tongue of the wise makes knowledge pleasant, but the mouth of fools spouts foolishness.  (Proverbs 15:2)  Their goal is to move us away from doing God’s work and tangle us up in a web of nonsense.  Don’t let them have their way.

Turn Your Back on Distraction

Open insults are more desirable than fellow believers who fail to stand behind us.  And honest constructive criticism from a fellow believer is more desirable than patronizing compliments from one of the enemy’s coworkers.  “Better is open rebuke than love that is concealed.  Faithful are the wounds of a friend, but deceitful are the kisses of an enemy.”  (Proverbs 27:5-6 All of this is nothing more than needless distraction.  We need to avoid these kinds of useless detours as best we can.

“Lord, lead me in Your righteousness because of my enemies; make Your way straight before me.  For there is nothing trustworthy in their mouth; their inward part is destruction itself.  Their throat is an open grave; they flatter with their tongue.”  (Psalm 5:8-9)

FAITH

Through it all, we are absolutely nothing without faith. The world we live in is filled with difficult to understand connections – Christian churches in opposition with other Christian churches, good people doing bad things, bad people doing good things, and those deserving going without, while those who are underserving flourish.  “I again saw under the sun that the race is not to the swift and the battle is not to the warriors, and neither is bread to the wise nor wealth to the discerning, nor favor to the skillful; for time and chance overtake them all.  (Ecclesiastes 9:11 Without faith, these painful contradictions would leave us lost. Our faith in the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ guarantees us an eternal existence far beyond all of this inconsistency.  It is that faith, and trust that Jesus is on His way back for us, that makes our pursuit of God’s calling possible.  “Yet those who wait for the Lord will gain new strength; they will mount up with wings like eagles, they will run and not get tired, they will walk and not become weary.  (Isaiah 40:31)  Faith is the armored vehicle we use to overcome the enemy’s attacks. There is nothing that has the ability to overcome our faith.

 

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.

Where are You? Part Three

Where are You? – Part Three of Five

 

Where are YOU in your walk with the Lord?

FAILURE, BETRAYAL & TEMPTATION

Earth is God’s training ground for our eternal existence.  For that reason, we are in a constant battle between good and evil.  Negative experiences are the tools God uses to build up our spiritual awareness. “For where jealousy and selfish ambition exist, there is disorder and every evil thing.”  (James 3:16)  Our assignment from God is to bring order and light to every negative situation we encounter.  These moments in life can be difficult, painful, and hard to endure; nevertheless, when we face failure, betrayal, and temptation we are at the same time given the necessary wisdom to overcome these obstacles.  And in the end, we will benefit greatly from fighting our way through the solution.  “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)  Nothing is more rewarding or important than working our way through one of God’s lessons of endurance.  Indeed, James tells us that a victory over our various trials is God’s perfect result.

Avoid the Enemy’s Distractions

We can’t allow difficult encounters to push us off our path to achieving God’s ultimate plan for our lives.  We can’t let the enemy distract our God-given design and manipulate us into a compromise that will block our further spiritual progress.  In Romans 5:3 we are told, “We also celebrate in our tribulations, knowing that tribulation brings about perseverance.”  We have to turn our back on the enemy and praise the Lord for his difficult lessons knowing that there is enormous value in every moment of tribulation.   The enemy has no power over us unless we give in to his lies.  We simply need to keep our eye on Jesus without looking to the right or the left, knowing absolutely that the victory has already been won.

EXCESS BAGGAGE

We all have some measure of excess baggage that we are dragging around in our lives.  For some of us, it is unresolved bitterness or anger and for others it is inappropriate behaviors that go against the clear teachings of Jesus.  In Hebrews 12:1we find this admonition, “Let’s rid ourselves of every obstacle and the sin which so easily entangles us, and let’s run with endurance the race that is set before us.”  It’s important that we take control over this excess baggage so that it does not have an opportunity to hinder our spiritual progress.

Avoid Disruptive People

Sadly, some of our excess baggage will be people who have not trusted the Lord and who find pleasure walking in the darkness of this world.  Of course we have to do what we can to bring these people to the light, however, we can’t let them manipulate our decisions or disrupt our mission to serve God.  We need to pray for these lost souls and give them the respect they deserve. “Pay to all what is due them: tax to whom tax is due; custom to whom custom; respect to whom respect; honor to whom honor.  Owe nothing to anyone except to love one another; for the one who loves his neighbor has fulfilled the Law.”  (Romans 13:7-8)   But in the end, those who are disruptive in our lives should be moved off to the side where they are no longer an obstacle in our path forward.

Travel Light

In short, we have to get rid of any extra weight we don’t need to carry.  Our lives are short and we have to travel light if we are to achieve everything God has planned for us.  Like an Olympic athlete, we have to condition ourselves to run this race with speed and endurance.  Eliminating any excess baggage will give us the needed strength to achieve victory.  “Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win.” (1 Corinthians 9:24)  We have to take complete control over our lives in order to be true servants of 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.

Where are You?  Part Two

 

Where are You? – Part Two of Five

 

Where are YOU in your walk with the Lord? 

DECISIONS

Following God’s plan for your life is not always easy.  Sometimes it’s difficult to be certain we are even going in the right direction.  Sometimes we have a hard time seeing precisely what God wants from us on any given day. “Wait for the Lord; be strong and let your heart take courage; yes, wait for the Lord.”  (Psalm 27:14)  The world we live in wants our emotions to take over when we are unsure of God’s presence.  The enemy wants us filled with anxiety and frustration that leads to anger and other unpleasant states of mind.  We find this in Psalm 37:8-9, “Cease from anger and abandon wrath; do not get upset; it leads only to evildoing.  For evildoers will be eliminated, but those who wait for the Lord, they will inherit the land.”  God is always with us.  No matter what’s going on in our life, God is by our side at all times.  Wait for His clear direction.

What has God Designed You to Do?

Our best decisions will be made when we consider what it is we do best – what it is that God has designed us to achieve.  When we analyze all the possibilities, along with the help of the Holy Spirit’s supply of solid wisdom, we have a winning strategy. “Comply with sound wisdom and discretion, and they will be life to your soul and adornment to your neck.  Then you will walk in your way securely, and your foot will not stumble.”  (Proverbs 3:21-23)  We have to work together with God to determine what needs our attention and what is a worldly waste of time.  Sound wisdom consists of careful analysis, asking all the right questions, and keeping what’s important to God at the top of our list.

Seek Any Needed Help

In every decision we make, we need to look at the long-term possibilities and potential problems.  When we take a nearsighted approach to any situation, it’s easy to make mistakes or miss details that will make a big difference.   Sometimes creative solutions are needed and our personal expertise is lacking.  Knowing when to seek help is essential to finding the best path forward.  “For just as we have many parts in one body and all the body’s parts do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually parts of one another.”  (Romans 12:4-5)  Our brothers and sisters in Christ are put in our lives for a reason.  We complement each other.  They are there for us in our service to God and we are there in support of their efforts as well.

Manage the Risk

Only when we carefully consider all of the available possibilities, and all the available godly advice, should we ever consider taking any risk in our mission; however, if we have carefully considered the negative outcome of any purposed risk, and decide those potential negative results can over time be corrected, some risk along with prayer may be the right way to go.  Trusting God to provide is always a secure path; however, God wants us to do our part as well.

Time is Short

In all of our decisions, we need to keep in mind that our time here on this earth is short.  It’s important for us to manage our time well.  All the minutes, hours, days, weeks, and months should be considered in everything we seek to accomplish.  Our personal mission may be to simply nurture our friends and family with God’s love or we may be called to a much larger mission field.  Whatever the case, how we manage our time is a critical factor.

RELATIONSHIPS

Our lives need to be filled with other believers all pointed in the same direction.  “For where two or three have gathered together in My name, I am there in their midst.”  (Matthew 18:20)  The combined spirits of sincere followers of Jesus Christ are a powerful force.  We need to align ourselves with like-minded people who are looking out for each other.  However, be aware of those who pretend to be on your side but in truth are moving in another direction.  In Luke 6:26 we read, “Woe to you when all the people speak well of you; for their fathers used to treat the false prophets the same way.”  Not everyone who pats you on the back has your best interest at heart.  It’s important for us to nurture those who have our back, but at the same time we need to step away from those who we discover have an ulterior motive for their praise.

One with God

When our relationships stand firm on the solid rock of Jesus, we can be comforted in knowing that we have a special association like no other.  Of course, we need to seek peace with all the people in our lives, even those who disappoint us.  “Pursue peace with all people, and the holiness without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many become defiled.”  (Hebrews 12:14-15)  God’s desire in life is that we have fellowship with others believers.  God’s desire in our life is that we point unbelievers to the saving grace of Jesus.  God’s desire is that we all become one with Him.

 

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.

Where are You?  Part One

 

WHERE ARE YOU? – Part One of Five

 

“Then the Lord God called to the man, and said to him, “Where are you?” Genesis 3:9

As followers of Jesus, our goal should be to make the most out of our relationship with God as possible.  Our lives should be an ongoing process of seeking to achieve everything God has planned for our limited existence on this earth. It doesn’t matter if we became a Christian yesterday, ten years ago, or fifty years ago; God should never have to come looking for us asking “Where are you?”  We should remain in the presence of God, following the teachings of Jesus, and serving others with the love that He provides, at all times.  Nothing will enhance the quality of our lives more than seeking to achieve all that God has in store for us.

Where are YOU in your walk with the Lord?

Philippians 3:12-14

“Not that I have already grasped it all or have already become perfect, but I press on if I may also take hold of that for which I was even taken hold of by Christ Jesus. Brothers and sisters, I do not regard myself as having taken hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.”

GOD’S DESIGN

There is only one YOU.  God created you like no other.  You have been Created by God with a specific design.  Our ultimate fulfillment in life comes when we realize our God-given design and pursue that which God has called us to achieve.  We can have all the success in the world, but it will be empty and meaningless if we never realize God’s calling in our life.  In 1 Corinthians 3:9-10 we are told, “For we are God’s fellow workers; you are God’s field, God’s building.  According to the grace of God which was given to me, like a wise master builder I laid a foundation, and another is building on it. But each person must be careful how he builds on it.” It is not our mission to do what others have done before us.  We each have a specific mission and we have to pursue our relationship with God in a specific way.  We find this in Luke 14:28, “For which one of you, when he wants to build a tower, does not first sit down and calculate the cost, to see if he has enough to complete it?” Each of us has a precise path to follow and a supernaturally designed set of circumstances in which to carry out God’s design.  We must plan accordingly.

Implementing God’s Plan

We all have different talents and gifts from God that we will use to implement God’s plan, and we are all given a certain group of people in our life that we will interact with year after year.  Some of these people will be beneficial to us and others will be there for us to serve.  We have to take stock of our calling every day and plan accordingly. “There is an appointed time for everything. And there is a time for every matter under heaven.”  (Ecclesiastes 3:1)  Our lives, and the lives of those around us are constantly changing, and it is our duty to seek God’s calling in every circumstance “While the earth remains, seedtime and harvest, cold and heat, summer and winter, and day and night shall not cease.” (Genesis 8:22)  The ever changing seasons are there for us to use as tools in our mission to serve God by serving others.

THE VOICE OF GOD

Believers are blessed with the indwelling of the Holy Spirit.  Every minute of every day the voice of God is within you, nudging you to fulfill your personal design on His behalf.  At the same time, we are being pushed back and forth by this world as we try to pay our bills, maintain our jobs or school commitments, and manage our relationships with friends and family.  Of course, our worldly endeavors are intermingled with our spiritual responsibilities; as a result, the line between the two can often become blurred.  In Acts 5:29 we are reminded, “We must obey God rather than men.” When our worldly schedule is in conflict with God’s design for our life, we have to select the path that puts us on a course to receive a blessing 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.

Growing God’s Blessings

 

Growing God’s Blessings

 

God’s Creation is an extraordinarily complex machine that operates on some basic principles which cannot be changed.  How plants grow and reproduce is a graphic example that God provides for us so that we might understand how we can grow his blessings in our life.  This well-known scripture found in Galatians 6:7 is perhaps one of the most important principles of God that should be a guiding force in all of our lives, “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a person sows, this he will also reap.”  When you put a seed in the ground, the outcome is completely predictable.  We don’t plant corn seeds and expect to get watermelons.  We will reap precisely what we sow.

Sowing the Teachings of Jesus

This basic concept is one of the unchangeable aspects of God’s Creation.  If we sow bitterness and discord, we will receive the same back.  If we sow neglect and abuse we can be certain to acquire an abundant crop of the same. “For they sow wind and they harvest a storm.” ( Hosea 8:7) On the other hand, when we sow the love of God with our neighbor, we are demonstrating ourselves to be worthy of God’s blessing.  Jesus describes His productive followers this way in Matthew 13:23, “But the one sown with seed on the good soil, this is the one who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces, some a hundred, some sixty, and some thirty times as much.” When farmers plant seeds, they expect to reap an abundant crop.  As followers of Jesus, we are expected to reap an abundant crop ourselves when we sow the seeds found in the teachings of Jesus.

Waiting for the Seeds to Grow

Of course, this process isn’t instantaneous.  Just like the plants growing in our garden, these things take time to mature and blossom. Sometimes we can get a little impatient waiting for the blessings of God to grow.  Just as some plants take longer than others to mature, the seeds we plant in life also have varying timetables.  Don’t become discouraged when God’s blessings are slow in coming.  When we diligently cultivate the seeds we have planted on God’s behalf, you can be absolutely certain He is watching and waiting for the perfect moment to deliver an abundant crop of blessings.

All for Jesus

We all have times when we essentially turn our back on God and selfishly go our own way, ignoring what we know needs to be done.  When we avoid tending our garden, weeds begin to grow and will soon choke out the life of our plants.  Keep in mind, God is not mocked; He is watching our every move.  Remember these words from 2 Corinthians 5:10“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive compensation for his deeds done through the body, in accordance with what he has done, whether good or bad.”  When we come face-to-face with Jesus, we want to present Him with a flourishing garden grown from our love and devotion to His teaching.  We need to be ready at all times for His return.   Our best course of action is to continuously plant seeds of love and faithfully watch them grow into 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.

Understanding God