WeepingintoDancing

Overcoming Difficult Trials

Archive for the category “Evangelism”

Do You Stick Out?

christians

The Bible tells us we are aliens and strangers in this world. This is a reminder to all Christians that heaven is our eternal home. The Greek translation for alien is a sojourner, stranger, and foreigner. A foreigner is one who lives in a place without the right of citizenship. Our citizenship is with God and in the heavenly realm.

“Beloved, I urge you as aliens and strangers to abstain from fleshly lusts which wave war against the soul.” 1 Peter 2:11 (NABS)

 But, for now, we must run a spiritual race; working out our salvation by making the most of the days God has allotted us. Every person has a specific number of days to live in this world. No spirit or man can snatch us from God’s hand or steal a single minute of our life. Through the sanctification process, God equips us to fulfill those works He Created us to execute for His glory.

A person’s days are determined; You have decreed the number of his months and have set limits he cannot exceed.Job 14:5 (NIV)

 When we live as followers of Christ, we will stick out.

For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ.Galatians 3:27 (NKJV)

Non-believers shall take notice and question our thoughts and actions. If we go against politically correct ideas, warped by the Ruler of this World (John 12:31-32), we will find ourselves judged by the ones he has deceived. The devil has many names including: God of this Age (2 Corinthians 4:4), Deceiver (Revelation 12:9), Enemy (Matthew 13:39) , Liar (John 8:44), Adversary (1 Peter 5:8), and Accuser (Revelation 12:10). They define his character and his actions.

That you put off, concerning your former conduct, the old man which grows corrupt according to the deceitful lusts, and be renewed in the spirit of your mind, and that you put on the new man which was created according to God, in true righteousness and holiness.Ephesians 4:22-24 (NKJV)

Our Christian character and faith will be attractive and repulsive to the lost. Some will find themselves drawn to our inner peace and love, while the conviction of the Holy Spirit will cause others to react with judgment and hate. Conscious of sin, but not willing to admit it as sin and turn from it, a spiritual battle incurs.

“If we live in the Spirit, let us also walk in the Spirit.” Galatians 5:25 (NKJV)

Times are changing. More and more Christian beliefs are viewed as ignorant, backward, unrealistic, and behind-the-times. Words such as archaic, old-fashioned, and out-of-date, will find their way into judgmental conversations. But what the world does not understand is thatJesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever” Hebrews 13:8 (NIV). Additionally, God does not adjust His living Word to accommodate our lusts and desires. He is unchanging.

“For I am the Lord, I do not change; Therefore you are not consumed, O sons of Jacob.Malachi 3:6 (NKJV)

 When we accepted Jesus as The Way… The Truth… and The Life, we died to our old self and put the righteousness of Christ. We are a new creation! So, our old worldly deeds and ways of thinking were renewed in the knowledge of God the Father. We are not supposed to compromise our thinking in order to fit in with those who have not accepted Jesus as their Lord and Savior. We are to fellowship with all mankind and share the Good News, but never are we to water down the truth. God is black and white when it comes to His Word.

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.John 14:6 (NIV)

 Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him” Colossians 3:9-10 (NKJV)

Ask yourself this question. Do your co-workers and neighbors know you to be a Christian? If not, why are they unaware of your faith? Have you been hiding your light under a bushel and for what reason?

Satan is looking for ways to tickle ears and tempt us into complacency. We must fight it! Do not settle for lukewarm Christian living. Let us all strive for boldness in our witness, living out our gift of salvation with hearts of gratitude. God is mighty to save but He also expects action. We have a responsibility to share the truth with the lost. That truth is, there is only one way to the Father and that is through His son, Jesus Christ. Being a good person is not enough to secure a place in heaven. If we love those around us, we must stick out.

Hell is a reality. When we speak the truth we are speaking in love. God hates gay marriage, abortion, sexual immorality, covetousness, and idolatry. Our responsibility is to speak the truth and share the Good News. It is God’s job to work on the hearts of the lost. Be bold! Be brave! The harvest is great and very ripe but the laborers are few.

“But when He saw the multitudes, He was moved with compassion for them, because they were weary and scattered, like sheep having no shepherd.  Then He said to His disciples, ‘The harvest truly is plentiful, but the laborers are few. Therefore pray the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into His harvest.’” Matthew 9:36-38 (NKJV)

 “If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness, we lie and do not practice the truth.  But if we walk in the light as He is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus Christ His Son cleanses us from all sin.1 John 1:6-7 (NKJV)

“Now for this very reason also, applying all diligence, in your faith supply moral excellence, and in your moral excellence, knowledge, and in your knowledge, self-control, and in your self-control, perseverance, and in your perseverance, godliness, and in your godliness, brotherly kindness, and in your brotherly kindness, love.  For if these qualities are yours and are increasing, they render you neither useless nor unfruitful in the true knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.  For he who lacks these qualities is blind or short-sighted, having forgotten his purification from his former sins.” 2 Peter 1:5-9 (NASB)

Shod Your Feet With The Gospel Of Peace

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The Christian spiritual race is an uphill climb, full of snares and rough places. A smart runner selects shoes that will carry him through every type terrain. Our spiritual armor includes shoes, and we are instructed to “shod our feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace (Ephesians 6:15).

The gospel of peace is the story of God’s love for us. Jesus carried and nailed the sins of the world to the cross. By His death and resurrection, the blood of Christ covers us. Through the forgiveness of sin, our fellowship with God has been restored. We have the promise of eternal life, so long as we declare Jesus the Son of God and our Redeemer. The word shod simply means… to wear footgear. Our spiritual footgear is the story of God’s love and sacrifice. This is our comfort and our calling. Through Christ Jesus we have victory over death, a message we are commanded to share with the lost world.

Go therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit.” Matthew 28:19 (NKJV)

However, this does not mean everybody should quit their day jobs and sail off to Africa as missionaries. Indeed, some are called to preach the gospel in other lands, but there are also everyday opportunities to share the Good News. If led, we can point our feet to the house of a sick friend or lonely neighbor, and be the hands of Christ. With an open door, we can speak words of encouragement, which will accomplish much, though we might not realize it at the time.

A word fitly spoken is like apples of gold in settings of silver.Proverbs 25:11 (NKJV)

Persuasive and timely language is a most effective balm to a hardened mind or heart. And like “apples of gold set in silver,” they are a beautiful and joyful thing to receive.

Believers possess a special treasure, the promise of eternal life and the joy of a personal relationship with God. How can we not share this good news with those around us? How will others believe in Him if we keep silent?

“How then shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in Him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written: ‘How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, who bring glad tidings of good things!” Romans 10:14-15 (NKJV)

God will often prepare the hearts of those whom He has called, thus giving the messenger of Good News fertile soil to plant His seed. The heavenly Father requires our faith and action to fearlessly speak the truth. Compromise is not of the Lord. His Word will stand without sugar coating, so long as we speak with gentleness and respect. Useful scriptures will suddenly come to mind, helping us in our task of loving the one in need. The Holy Spirit will give us the words and actions necessary, so laying aside our own agenda and personal strength is key. We are to rely on God’s leading and supernatural power, for those acting on their own authority are guilty of robbing God of His glory. We are the messengers of God but He is the Savior.

But you shall receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you shall be witnesses to Me in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.” Acts 1:8 (NKJV)

Any time we step out in faith, the enemy will try to interfere with our efforts to share the gospel. Utilize the entire spiritual armor of Christ. Pray. Harassment should not be a surprise to the believer. Rather, our perspective should be that any spiritual annoyance and intimidation is confirmation we are walking right with God. Gaining back the ground Satan has stolen is never easy. The prowling lion that looks to devour is a mighty foe, but the Lion King of Judah has already won the battle. The victory is already His and we share in the victory through Jesus Christ. Let us all make an effort to share the gospel of peace with someone new every day.

Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, ‘Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?’ And I said, ‘Here am I. Send me!’” Isaiah 6:8 (NIV)

“Of course you’ll encounter trouble. But behold a God of power who can take any evil and turn it into a door of hope.” ~ Catherine Marshall

The Highway of Holiness

*Highway

“I continue to dream and pray about a revival of holiness in our day that moves forth in mission and creates authentic community in which each person can be unleashed through the empowerment of the Spirit to fulfill God’s creational intentions.” ~ John Wesley

Many of us are praying for a revival: A revival that restores our faith in Jesus Christ, the Savior of the World. We ask that revival once again comes, sweeping over our land like a wildfire out of control. A spiritual wildfire that would bring many prodigals home and open the eyes of the lost.

However, it is not enough to merely understand we have been saved and redeemed through the blood of Jesus Christ. We lack passion. It is the reverent fear of God and an indescribable thanks for His eternal love that is absent in so many of us today. Humility has not brought us to our knees, prostrate with gratitude and submissive in our absolute repentance.

Are we merely speaking empty words of godly sorrow, without the earnestness and sincerity of heart our Lord so desperately desires? Every move to remove God from our government and ignore His truth is breaking His heart and causing Him anger.  For we are turning away from the One who has blessed and protected our nation. He will not have it! We will see the consequences of our sin and rebellion… unless we turn from our wicked ways and repent.

“See what this godly sorrow has produced in you: what earnestness, what eagerness to clear yourselves, what indignation, what alarm, what longing, what concern, what readiness to see justice done. At every point,  you have proved yourselves to be innocent in this matter.”        2 Corinthians 7:11 (NIV)

1 Thessalonians 4:7 (NKJV) says, “For God did not call us to uncleanness, but in holiness.”

We are called to be holy, for He who has called us is Holy. This means our conduct. We are to take the life of Christ as our example, and the wisdom found within His Living Word and apply it to our lives. Our family, friends, neighbors and even strangers should know we are Christians by our actions and lifestyle. They should see our love and willingness to serve. We are not to compromise Biblical truths for the sake of avoiding adversity or hurting the feelings of those who have been deceived. We are to witness and share the truth, but always with gentleness and respect. America does not want to offend anyone, although offending God does not seem to matter as of late.

“But as He who called you is holy, you also be holy in all your conduct, because it is written, “Be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:15-16 (NKJV)

If there was a revival of holiness in our day, what would it look like?

Chastity would be practiced and honored. Integrity would be valued and honest words would once again serve to instruct and advise. Love would rule our hearts and compassion would cause us to intercede throughout the day. Our personal relationship with Jesus would grow in intimacy and our ability to hear the Holy Spirit would be fine tuned. With our closer walk with God, our faith would grow and our trust in God’s provision and grace would carry us past times of persecution and suffering. Our actions and decisions would not be based on fear, for nothing is impossible for God. He is ALMIGHTY.

We would live among the dirt of this ailing nation, but remain pure and clean in His sight. Our light would be evident to the lost and they would be drawn to us. Some drawn for a desire to be more like us… others are drawn with evil intents and a desire to put out our light.

However, hope is eternal and living a life of holiness promises great reward.

“Do everything without grumbling or arguing,  so that you may become blameless and pure, “children of God without fault in a warped and crooked generation.” Then you will shine among them like stars in the sky as you hold firmly to the word of life.”    Philippians 2:14-16a (NIV)

How do we live out our faith with a “No Compromise” attitude? Is it even possible to live a life of holiness in a world so bent on hate and debauchery? Yes. Yes it is, with the help of Christ. Will it take personal sacrifice and be the cause of conflict. Most likely. However, we are not called to be man pleasers. We are called to serve and honor God. We have one judge and that Judge is God alone. We should consider our ways daily and determine if they please or grieve the Lord.

The heavenly Father gave us free will. He also gave us an instruction manual… The Bible. We must read it daily (even memorize it) so that we know what God says about certain behaviors/actions. What God expects from His children and what He finds as abominations are also written in scripture. Just as God tested Abraham, Moses, and Mary, He will test our faith as well.

These are dark times and the days ahead will prove to be even darker. Find encouragement in the community and Body of Christ.  There is a comfort to be found with like-minded believers. Surround yourself with brothers and sisters who will hold you accountable and lift you up in prayer. We need each other to maintain our calling to be holy. Blessings to you as you continue to travel the highway of holiness.

“Suppose for a moment that you were allowed to enter heaven without holiness. What would you do? What possible enjoyment could you feel there? To which of all the saints would you join yourself and by whose side would you sit? Their pleasures are not your pleasures, their tastes are not your tastes, their character not your character. How could you possibly be happy, if you had not been holy on earth?” ~ J.C. Ryle“I continue to dream and pray about a revival of holiness in our day that moves forth in mission and creates authentic community in which each person can be unleashed through the empowerment of the Spirit to fulfill God’s creational intentions.” ~ John Wesley

 

Good Reasons To Memorize Bible Verses

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(http://memorizethebible.com/#chapter-1)

When you’re put on the spot, what will you say? Will you say, let me check my smart phone or iPad? Let me find that scripture on my computer?

Knowing God’s word = spiritual power and authority (Ephesians 6:17; Hebrews 4:12)

Renews your mind and changes your way of thinking — permanent change in your life and conduct (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2-3).

Follows the example of Jesus Christ (Matthew 4:1-10).

You are equipped to use Scripture in real life situations (Acts 2:16-21, 25-28; 3:22-23; 13:40-41, 47).

Makes God’s Word the foundation of your life (Deuteronomy 6:6-8).

Integrates God’s guidance with your mind (Psalm 119:24, 105).

Allows confidence in witnessing (Isaiah 55:11).

Conquer temptation (Matthew 4:1-10) and to gain victory over sin (Psalm 119:9-11).

Pray the Bible by connecting your prayer with scripture (Acts 4:24-31).
Teach, counsel, encourage, and build others in the Body of Christ (Colossians 3:16).

Mediate on God’s Word (Psalm 119:15-16, 97).

Keeps God’s Word immediately available for comfort (Psalm 119:52).

Keeps God’s Word ready to refresh or revive (Psalm 119:93).

Maintains spiritual life stability (Psalm 37:31; 40:8).

Gives you the truth and, in times of need, you are ready to answer others about your hope (Proverbs 22:17-21; 1 Peter 3:15).

God’s Unfolding Plan For Our Life

*9

God’s plan for our life is one that continuously unfolds. Minute-by-minute, day-by-day, and step-by-step He guides, all the while unfolding His glorious intentions. His wonderful blueprint for our lives was designed before we were even born. Every detail was considered when He assigned our mission, duty, responsibility, and occupation (s). He created and set circumstances into place that would refine our gifts and engage our specific attributes. Always, ALWAYS is our service for His glory and the blessing of His people. Moses is a wonderful example of this fact.

“Then the Lord said to Moses,  “Tell the Israelites to turn back and encamp near Pi Hahiroth, between Migdol and the sea. They are to encamp by the sea, directly opposite Baal Zephon.  Pharaoh will think, ‘The Israelites are wandering around the land in confusion, hemmed in by the desert.’  And I will harden Pharaoh’s heart, and he will pursue them. But I will gain glory for Myself through Pharaoh and all his army, and the Egyptians will know that I am the Lord.” So the Israelites did this.” Exodus 14:1-4 (NKJV)

Pharaoh and his army pursued the Israelites, and overtook them as they camped by the sea.As Pharaoh approached, the Israelites looked up, and there were the Egyptians, marching after them. They were terrified and cried out to the Lord.” Exodus 14:10 (NKJV)

The Israelites later turned on Moses and questioned why they ever followed him into the desert. They were prepared to return to Egypt and once again become slaves. Their faith in God’s power was weak and they saw no way out of their trap. The Red Sea was an apparent roadblock, but God would use that roadblock for His glory. Nothing is impossible for God! On that day the Israelites witnessed another incredible miracle of God’s provision and faithfulness as they walked on dry land, through the Red Sea, to safety.

Do you see how God’s plan unfolded? God gave Moses directions, telling him to encamp by the sea. God also told Moses that Pharaoh would pursue the Israelites. Furthermore, God revealed that He would gain glory for Himself through Pharaoh’s assault. But God did not tell Moses the Israelites would panic and turn on him. God often unfolds His plan measure-by-measure. He tells us enough to get us moving in the right direction but then, there are tests of obedience and faith that He intertwines in our journey.

Moses obediently camped by the sea and was not surprised by the appearance of the Egyptian army. Trusting God would faithfully deliver His people, Moses did not allow the Red Sea to become an obstacle. He remembered God said, “But I will gain glory for Myself through Pharaoh and all his army,” and so the parting of the Red Sea fulfilled this prophesy.

God wants us to depend on Him daily. Moses did not have directions for the next week or month. He took one day at a time. He had to train his ear to LISTEN for God’s voice.

Now consider the apostles. Their lives were a continuous unfolding. After Jesus rose from the dead, He told His friends to go back to the city and wait for the Holy Spirit.

I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:49 (NIV)

Jesus did not tell them what the promise would look like. He gave them only the directions they needed, go back to the city and wait. Obediently, they waited in the city for the promise to be clothed with heavenly power. Once the Holy Spirit arrived, they learned to discern His leading. They healed many in the name of Jesus, spread the gospel, established churches, and wrote words of encouragement that are now known as the LIVING Word of God.

Jesus told Peter to “Feed my sheep.” He did not give Peter detailed instructions on how to accomplish this request, but He did equip him. Every apostle went out and shared the good news. Apostles were persecuted for their faith, unfolded as part of their Christian race. God taught them to be content in times of plenty and times of want. They gave Him continuous praise as they knew He was ever present and in control.

Other examples of walking with God and trusting Him to unfold His plan include Abraham: Leave you homeland

Now the Lord had said to Abram: ‘Get out of your country, from your family and from your father’s house, to a land that I will show you.  I will make you a great nation; I will bless you and make your name great; And you shall be a blessing. I will bless those who bless you, and I will curse him who curses you; And in you all the families of the earth shall be blessed.’ ” Genesis 12:1-3 (NKJV)

Joshua: March around Jericho

Now the gates of Jericho were securely barred because of the Israelites. No one went out and no one came in. Then the Lord said to Joshua, “See, I have delivered Jericho into your hands, along with its king and its fighting men. March around the city once with all the armed men. Do this for six days. Have seven priests carry trumpets of rams’ horns in front of the ark. On the seventh day, march around the city seven times, with the priests blowing the trumpets. When you hear them sound a long blast on the trumpets, have the whole army give a loud shout; then the wall of the city will collapse and the army will go up, everyone straight in.” Joshua 6:1-5

God has a purpose and service for each one of us. Maybe it is in the prayer closet. We might not see the fruit of our labor, but the prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective. Prayers are ALWAYS answered in God’s time and for His glory. God unfolds how to pray and who to pray for by using the Holy Spirit to direct us while on our knees.

We are all called to share the Good News. We must look for the opportunity and trust God to give us the wisdom and knowledge to share His love. Maybe we will help a stranger and God will unfold the best way to witness. A neighbor might need of a ride somewhere and you hear God say, “Drive!” After you obey this unusual request, God might unfold His real purpose for your service. Every day unfolds new mysteries of God’s love for us.

Wait on God to fulfill His promises. Wait for the Savior to unfold His plan for your life. He is equipping you now for what lies in the future. Patiently wait and remember that God looks for willing servants who say, “Lord, send me!”

“Then I heard the voice of the Lord saying, “Whom shall I send? And who will go for us?” And I said, “Here am I. Send me!” Isaiah 6:8 (NIV)

https://www.facebook.com/video.php?v=10153044654302949&fref=nf

“Today I know that such memories are the key not to the past, but to the future. I know that the experiences of our lives, when we let God use them, become the mysterious and perfect preparation for the work He will give us to do. ”                        ~ Corrie ten Boom

“Have you been asking God what He is going to do? He will never tell you. God does not tell you what He is going to do; He reveals to you who He is.”                                  ~Oswald Chambers

Grumble, Grumble, Complain

*24 Hours

The following question will challenge even the most mature and spiritually filled believer. “Do you grumble and complain?”

Complaints are included in acceptable social conversations. They are objections, even acts of protest. Voicing anger, fears, dissatisfaction, annoyance, and irritation will certainly get a conversation rolling. But will the topic or act of disapproval be edifying and pleasing to God?

Take a minute and consider why we complain. Are we looking for the empathy of others? Are we making excuses for our behavior? Is it due to some selfish motive, or is it an act of self-righteousness? Has self-pity consumed our thoughts and voicing our anger brings relief? Is it a passive-aggressive way to let God know we are mad at Him? By complaining, have we judged God by blaming Him for our discomfort?

Or, are we seeking justice for bona fide mistreatment and abuse? Should injustices be left unrecognized? Are we not called to carry each other’s burdens? Do we not have a responsibility to stand up for the weak and defend those in need?

Making a petition for help is different from grumbling and complaining. In the midst of a trial we should call upon God’s grace. However, circumstances are permitted, created, and ordained by a sovereign God who has orchestrated them for our welfare. To complain about our situation is to argue against God’s will and plan. Asking for strength to move through a trial is acceptable but complaining about our loss, pain, or struggle is not beneficial for us or honoring to God.

God can handle our honesty and He knows our feelings before we are completely aware of them our self. He lives to intercede on our behalf, and the refining processes that trials generate often require the supernatural strengthening of God. Asking for help is an act of humility and will draw us closer to God. Complaining does not draw us closer to God, nor will it build intimacy with Him. In fact, complaining kindles His anger.

“And the people complained in the hearing of the Lord about their misfortunes, and when the Lord heard it, His anger was kindled, and the fire of the Lord burned among them and consumed some outlying parts of the camp. “ Numbers 11:1 (NKJV)

Philippians 2:14-15 commands us to DO ALL THINGS without complaining. In a world filled with wicked and perverse men, making a point to remain positive will get attention. We are called to shine as lights in this fallen world. Praising God and His provision at all times, especially while we are persevering though trials, will cause others to rethink their ways. This positive and thankful thinking will require self-control and discipline. Breaking the habit of grumbling will not be easy, especially if it has been long practiced. But with the grace of God it can be mastered.

“Do all things without complaining and disputing, that you may become blameless and harmless, children of God without fault in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation, among whom you shine as lights in the world.” Philippians 2:14-15 (NKJV)

We are called to do ALL THINGS without complaining. This includes our acts of labor and employment, the “Honey-Do List,” car pools, time with relatives, and even mundane and repetitious days filled with simple but necessary duties and tasks. For every day in our life has been planned out by God, days of sorrow, excitement, joy, adventure and seemingly uneventful days. Each and every day is a gift and should be filled with thanks and praise.

So, we are to DO all things without complaining, but what about daily conversations? Is it all right to complain about the food in a restaurant? How about the driver on the highway who just cut you off? Surely it is okay to complain about the snow in April or the lack of rain in August. Weather has long been considered a safe topic of discussion in every day “small talk.” Many of us will make note of a beautiful sunrise, the blue sky or lovely clouds. But we are also quick to complain about weather. Are we sinning when we voice complaints about something so common as weather?

Ask this question, “Does my complaint glorify God?” You have your answer! We are to edify others with words of encouragement and hope.

Let no corrupt word proceed out of your mouth, but what is good for necessary edification, that it may impart grace to the hearers.“ Ephesians 4:29 (NKJV)

Apparently mankind has never been satisfied. Just think about Adam and Eve! Even in paradise they were not content. Is it then fair to say that human nature is never content? Yes. The constant clash between fleshly desires and spiritual contentment is a battle fought every day.

The poor want to be rich, but wealth is not the answer. A rich man also seeks more and complains as much as any other man. The single woman wants to be married and the married woman wishes she were once again single. The grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. But if we watered our side of the grass… it would be just as green as the one on the other side.

Paul tells us how to battle our urge to grumble and complain. Seeking contentment in every circumstance is the secret. This requires God’s help and we must call upon His strength to find this peace and joy.

“I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” Philippians 4:11-13 (NKJV)

May we strive to consider our daily conversations, seeking to edify others and glorify God. Desiring contentment, we lean on the love of God and trust in His provisions. We ask the Holy Spirit to prick our spirit every time we are tempted to grumble and complain. We choose to praise God for EVERYTHING, including the circumstances we now face. We cast all of our cares upon Christ Jesus and thank Him for each thing in our life.

“It is no use to grumble and complain; It’s just as cheap and easy to rejoice; When God sorts out the weather and sends rain- Why rain’s my choice.” ~ James Whitcomb Riley

“If Christians spent as much time praying as they do grumbling, they would soon have nothing to grumble about.” – Anonymous

Walk As Children Of Light

*Walk As Children of Light

Loving fathers teach and discipline their children. They offer wisdom, knowledge and their devoted attention. Fathers help to “shed light” on troublesome or difficult situations. God does this for us as well. He teaches and disciplines with a pure love, and yes, adversity is one of His most effective tools in our education. Affliction causes us to look up and increases our dependence upon God, rather than self. When circumstances appear impossible, faith reminds us that apparent impossibilities are wondrous opportunities for God to move.

During times of adversity, life may appear very dark and overwhelming. Hopelessness can grab hold of our heartstrings and lead us down paths of self-pity. “How could the Savior send such trouble my way? What did I do to deserve such hardship?” The Word tells us that God does not willingly afflict His children. He sends or permits only that which accomplishes His good will and purpose. Perfect love is always included in His equations.

“For He does not willingly bring affliction or grief to anyone.” Lamentations 3:33 (NIV)

Thankfully, there is always a light of promise and hope at the end of every trial. This light is Christ Jesus. By it we are propelled forward in our race, even through the darkest and most painful of sufferings.

“Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path.” Psalm 119:115 (NKJV)

JESUS is the living Word of God, the light that enlightens every man with spiritual truth. Those who perceive the true Light and choose to follow the source will never walk in spiritual darkness. Natural darkness is the absence of light and spiritual darkness is the absence of Jesus, the light of the world.

With earthly bodies reborn and filled with the Holy Spirit, we have a supernatural “light” living within us. Our God given light is not seen with human eyes but is still perceived and very apparent to others, when we remember to “shine it all around.” D.L. Moody speaks of our witness and compares it to a lighthouse. A LIFESTYLE witness should be obvious to others without our having to set off cannons.

We are told to let our light shine, and if it does, we won’t need to tell anybody it does. Lighthouses don’t fire cannons to call attention to their shining- they just shine.”    ~ D. L. Moody

Having been called to walk as “Children of Light,” seeking out all goodness, righteousness, and truth should therefore be our aim. Is it not wise to make a daily goal where we seek out what is acceptable to the Lord and then follow through with prayer and service?

“For you were once darkness, but now you are light in the Lord. Walk as children of light (for the fruit of the Spirit is in all goodness, righteousness, and truth), finding out what is acceptable to the Lord.” Ephesians 5:8-10 (NKJV)

Sharing His love with others while living through personal times of adversity will not only point the lost to Christ, it will cause us to discover beautiful blessings found only in the fellowship of His suffering. Our capacity to love and forgive will increase, compassion and mercy will grow, and grace will abound. As our love for Jesus grows, so will our light within.

May the light of Christ Jesus shine ever more brightly within all of us, drawing the hungry, weary, thirsty, and lost to truth and eternal salvation.

“Then Jesus spoke to them again, saying, “I am the light of the world. He who follows Me shall not walk in darkness, but have the light of life.” John 8:12 (NKJV)                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        

“In Him was life, and the life was the light of men.” John 1:4 (NKJV)

“Soon we shall be up there with Christ. God did not mean us to be happy without Him; but God would first have us to be witnesses for Him down here, to hold out as much light as we can.”      G.V. Wigram

“Christ cannot light a single spark in the heart of an individual, without that little tiny spark being for God. He gives the light, and has ordained that every ray of it is to reflect something for God.” G.V. Wigram

It’s Friday…. BUT EASTER SUNDAY IS COMING!

“For what I received I passed on to you as of first importance: that Christ died for our sins according to the Scriptures, that He was buried, that He was raised on the third day according to the Scriptures” 1 Co. 15:3-4 (NIV)

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Video:  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YByT6wfdhJs

 “But Christ has indeed been raised from the dead, the firstfruits of those who have fallen asleep. For since death came through a man, the resurrection of the dead comes also through a man.  For as in Adam all die, so in Christ all will be made alive. But each in turn: Christ, the firstfruits; then, when he comes, those who belong to him.  Then the end will come, when he hands over the kingdom to God the Father after he has destroyed all dominion, authority and power. For he must reign until he has put all his enemies under his feet. The last enemy to be destroyed is death. For he “has put everything under his feet.” 1 Co. 15:20-27 (NIV)

 

Jesus and the Fig Tree

figtree

Why did Jesus curse the fig tree?

Now the next day, when they had come out from Bethany, He was hungry.  And seeing from afar a fig tree having leaves, He went to see if perhaps He would find something on it. When He came to it, He found nothing but leaves, for it was not the season for figs. In response Jesus said to it, “Let no one eat fruit from you ever again.” And His disciples heard it.” Mark 11:12-15 (NKJV)

When He realized it was all leaves and no fruit, was Jesus so terribly disappointed that He vented His anger in emotional vindictiveness? Since we know Jesus is without sin… we must conclude His anger towards this fig tree was righteous.

But what of Mark’s comment, “It was NOT the season for figs.” Wasn’t Jesus then expecting too much from this tree? Was He really expecting it to bear fruit out of season?

Without all the facts, one could easily see Jesus in a negative light, or even as harsh. Should you ever find yourself viewing God with an uncomplimentary and critical attitude, pause and reflect. Consider who He is and who you are and whether you have any right to judge your Creator. Then, humble yourself and consider His character. God is love. He loves ALL of His creation. If not so, why would He care when the tiniest sparrow falls?

Are not two sparrows sold for a penny? Yet not one of them will fall to the ground outside your Father’s care.” Matthew 10:29 (NIV)

Fig trees will often produce a small amount of fruit prior to the main crop. This “first fruit” was what our Lord was expecting. Since this fig tree was without ANY fruit, but fully dressed in leaves, He knew it was barren. The tree was not fulfilling its purpose. Thus, Jesus eliminated an unproductive tree from an orchard, not by saw or ax but by faith and His Word.

And we made ordinances to bring the firstfruits of our ground and the firstfruits of all fruit of all trees, year by year, to the house of the Lord” Nehemiah 10:35 (NKJV)

Mark 11:12-15 is a wonderful analogy and a good reminder for all believers. We were made for a specific purpose, predestined by God to fulfill His will. We were knit together by a loving Father who gave us every gift, trait, and skill necessary to fulfill and carry out the plan and purpose He designed us to fulfill.

We should be productive instruments for the glory of God. During our many seasons of life, we will sow seeds, water and care for them, harvest a crop of righteousness (that is only because we are one with the Lord Jesus Christ) and praise God for the gift of service.

“What makes the Dead Sea dead? Because it is all the time receiving, never giving out anything. Why is it that many Christians are cold? Because they are all the time receiving, never giving out anything.”   ~D.L. Moody

Have you any first fruit to offer the Lord today? Or, are you hiding behind a façade of greenery with little service or fruit to speak of? The fig tree was fully dressed in leaves of green but not productive. Be careful that you are walking the Christian walk and not just hiding behind some showy leaves. Our Master expects produce and will cut away dead branches and then prune the healthy ones to increase the harvest for His kingdom.

READ THE SCRIPTURES AND QUOTE BELOW, THEN CONSIDER THE FIG TREE. HOW DOES IT APPLY TO YOUR WALK WITH CHRIST JESUS?

As soon as the commandment was circulated, the children of Israel brought in abundance the firstfruits of grain and wine, oil and honey, and of all the produce of the field; and they brought in abundantly the tithe of everything.”                                      2 Chronicles 31:5 (NKJV)

If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.” John 15:6 (NKJV)

“The world is perishing for lack of the knowledge of God and the Church is famishing for want of His Presence.” ~ A.W. Tozer

How Is God Stretching YOU?

7) Young Woman:Cheryl

God is once again taking me out of my comfort zone! He likes to stretch (mature) His children and to be honest, I like being stretched! I don’t ever want to be stagnant and slow in my spiritual growth. I have tossed the baby bottle of milk aside because I so enjoy feasting upon the prime rib of sold spiritual foods!

I was once a public school teacher (25 years) but God called me into a new career as an author. Boy, that was a shock and a stretch! With God’s help, I wrote 3 devotionals and a Bible study. Non-fiction is now my comfort zone.

Well, now He is calling me to once again use the gifts He placed within me to teach. He has asked me to enter the world of FICTION, or Historical fiction. I am writing a children’s rhyming book inspired by the book of Esther. As of now it does not have a title. I am praying about this and I know it will come to me in God’s timing.

A wonderful illustrator (She is also an author, publisher, etc) has agreed to work with me. Her name is Cheryl Ellicott. Please keep this project in prayer. I would like to see this book in public schools, libraries, and of service to the home schooling network. There will be a curriculum sold separately for 2nd-5th graders.

We are to use the gifts GOD GAVE US for HIS glory and the edification of the Body of Christ. I challenge my readers to use their gifts!! God will see your labor of love and be pleased and glorified. Posted are samples of Cheryl Ellicott’s work. These are NOT for my book. They are posted to show her style.

How is God stretching YOU in 2015? Please share!

“For this reason we also, since the day we heard it, do not cease to pray for you, and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; 10 that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” Colossians 1:9-10 (NKJV)

“For though by this time you ought to be teachers, you need someone to teach you again the first principles of the oracles of God; and you have come to need milk and not solid food.” Hebrews 5:12 (NKJV)

2) Cheryl Landscape w:Woman and Child14) Sparrow:Cheryl10) Girl w:Bible Cheryl13( Corrie ten Book:Cheryl

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