WeepingintoDancing

Overcoming Difficult Trials

Archive for the category “Scripture”

Mastering Our Tongue

*7

The book of James warns us about the power behind each man’s tongue. This body part may be small, but it is capable of inflicting great damage if we do not learn to harness it. In fact, man cannot tame his tongue on his own. It requires the indwelling of the Holy Spirit and constant attention to self-control. Even then, there will be moments when a misspoken word causes us to sin. However, there is a reward for bringing our tongue into submission, so strive to train it! For if we master our tongues we also bridle our entire body!

For we all stumble in many things. If anyone does not stumble in word, he is a perfect man, able also to bridle the whole body. Indeed, we put bits in horses’ mouths that they may obey us, and we turn their whole body. Look also at ships: although they are so large and are driven by fierce winds, they are turned by a very small rudder wherever the pilot desires.James 3:2-4 (NKJV)

Just as a bridle is used to master a horse’s direction, a rudder is used to steer a ship. Winds may blow a sailing vessel off course, but a small rudder can get it back on track and direct it to its intended port. Likewise, our tongue needs to be bridled by the grace of God so that He, our pilot, can then direct us along our earthly path.

Sadly, blessings AND curses do proceed from our mouths. Opposites birthed within our hearts, which then flow up and out of our lips. Again, James reminds us that a spring of water is not both sweet and bitter. It is filled with one or the other. This analogy reminds us to be careful with our words, keeping them sweet and full of God’s life-giving grace and love.

“With it we bless our God and Father, and with it, we curse men who have been made in the similitude of God. Out of the same mouth proceed blessing and cursing. My brethren, these things ought not to be so.  Does a spring send forth freshwater and bitter from the same opening?” James 3:9-11 (NKJV)

In 1831, Professor Touery drank a lethal dose of strychnine in front of his distinguished colleagues at the French Academy of Medicine. Fortunately, he had combined the deadly poison with activated charcoal and lived to tell the tale.

Here is our hope! Sinful words may live within our hearts and spew recklessly from our lips, but the poison found within such words can be neutralized. This means that if we apply an opposite force, the damage should become ineffective (although it might take a good measure of time to see results). But this requires the indwelling of the Holy Spirit within both the offender and the wounded target.

What is the neutralizing agent? God’s love! Hateful words are powerful and damaging. But God’s love can restore relationships and bring them back to health.

Poisons also have antidotes! It is a medicine taken or given to counteract a particular poison. Antidotes either prevent the poison from working or reverse the effects. The love of Christ is a powerful antidote. It counteracts the poison spewed through gossip and slander. With it, we are given new vision. It enables us to view situations and people through eyes of love. By it, forgiveness is possible because the antidote brings to mind all the sins Christ has forgiven in us.

Ultimately, our goal should be to eliminate any poison resting our tongues before it has a chance to do any damage. This is possible, but we must,“Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.” 2 Corinthians 10:5b (NKJV) Reading the Word of God will help with this goal. While feeding upon the Word of God and consider, “Whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy—meditate on these things.” Philippians 4:8 (NKJV). Fill your soul with sweet reflections so that there is no room left in your heart for any bitter or hateful thoughts.

 *Read the following scriptures and ask yourself if you are harboring any feelings of unforgiveness or bitterness in your heart? Are the words of your lips overflowing with sweet spring water, bitter water, or both?

Let your speech always be with grace, seasoned with salt, that you may know how you ought to answer each one.Colossians 4:6 (NKJV)

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)

Whoever guards his mouth and tongue keeps his soul from troubles.Proverbs 21:23 (NKJV)

“But no man can tame the tongue. It is an unruly evil, full of deadly poison.” James 3:8 (NKJV)

Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruit.” Proverbs 18:21 (NKJV)

“When there are many words, transgression is unavoidable, but he who restrains his lips is wise. Proverbs 10:19 (NASB)

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

Spiritual Gates

*7

Gates serve several purposes in the physical world. They keep the good in and the bad out. They are a means for entrance or departure. Gates provide protection. There are also arrival and departure gates. Since Jesus spoke in parables, and analogies are seen within parables, let us consider how gates tie into the spiritual matters of our heart.

The first mention of a city gate is found in Genesis 19:1. At the gate of Sodom, Abraham’s nephew, Lot, greeted angelic visitors into the city. Gates were places of central activity, business transactions, and the place where court was convened. Public announcements were also proclaimed and publicized in this location. A gate was where rulers met and counsel was given.

Now the two angels came to Sodom in the evening, and Lot was sitting in the gate of Sodom. When Lot saw them, he rose to meet them, and he bowed himself with his face toward the ground. Genesis 19:1 (NKJV)

 Gates were a big part of a city’s protection against invaders. Babylon had at least eight gates, which were a part of the walls surrounding the city. The gate of Ishtar was a double gate and a real showpiece with dragons and lions. The entrance into a city and the Processional Way were artistically built to boast of the ruler’s power and strength. When nations warred against each other, the city gate(s) was a prime focus for possession. To control the gates of one’s enemies was to conquer their city.

“Blessing I will bless you, and multiplying I will multiply your descendants as the stars of the heaven and as the sand which is on the seashore; and your descendants shall possess the gate of their enemies.” Genesis 22:17 (NKJV)

For a spirit of justice to him who sits in judgment, and for strength to those who turn back the battle at the gate.Isaiah 28:6 (NKJV)

In this world, our walk with Christ will be filled with spiritual battles. We are aliens in this world so; our thoughts and actions are not usually in agreement with the “politically correct” view of our friends and family, neighbors and co-workers. Furthermore, if we are vocal in our objections referencing abortion and gay marriage (and other issues), we will quickly find ourselves under attack.

It is likely that we will be labeled prejudiced and judgmental, even ignorant. Some believers have already undergone vicious attacks that have caused unjust imprisonment, along with threats to job security and future employment. Yet, God prevails. His purpose and will are accomplished through His chosen ones whom He has equipped to do His work. We are to be “bold and stouthearted” for His glory.

God’s thoughts and ways are above our own, but we should strive to be imitators of Christ. Our thoughts and actions should be above the ways of this world. There is a gate to the wisdom, understanding, and the knowledge of God, but it only opens through the blood sacrifice of Jesus Christ. When we accept Christ as our Savior, the gates to our mind, heart, and spirit open and the scales of deceit fall from our eyes. Indeed, the eyes of our heart become enlightened when we submit to God’s sovereignty.

“’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” Isaiah 55:8-9 (NKJV)

Therefore be imitators of God as dear children.” Ephesians 5:1 (NKJV)

 The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that you may know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints” Ephesians 1:18 (NKJV)

Proverbs 4:23 provides us with a warning…. “Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life.” Diligence calls for a concentrated effort that is meticulous, rigorous, and thorough. Blue Letter Bible speaks of diligence as a guardhouse.

In the Bible, the word “heart” is usually a reference to everything that makes you…. YOU! This includes thoughts, feelings, understanding, personality, and passions. It is the total sum of our character. Therefore, it is something we must actively guard and defend, if we care about the kind of person we want to be. We should be very aware of what and who we are allowing access to our heart. We must play an active role as the “gatekeeper” of our own heart.

And I said to them, “Do not let the gates of Jerusalem be opened until the sun is hot; and while they stand guard, let them shut and bar the doors; and appoint guards from among the inhabitants of Jerusalem, one at his watch station and another in front of his own house.” Nehemiah 7:3 (NKJV)

If we leave our heart-gate wide open and unattended, all kinds of thoughts, ideas, attitudes, and past-times will enter in and THEY WILL influence us. There will be a reshaping and transforming of our character. Some of the things that enter in will be good, but the bad things will have an effect on our character and taint all within us that is good.

 Do not be deceived: ‘Bad company corrupts good morals.’”    1 Corinthians 15:33 (NASB)

Every way of a man is right in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the hearts.Proverbs 21:2 (NKJV)

Remember to keep watch over your heart today. May it be open to the goodness and blessings of the Lord, but discerning and wary of anything the enemy may try to slip past your heart-gate. Strive to be holy… for HE is holy. Imitate Christ in all things and remember to resist the devil …. For then he must flee. May the gate to your heart be well oiled with prayer and thanksgiving.

Hunger Pains

*Empty? Grace

Feeling Empty?
Hunger pains are not pleasant. They occur when the stomach empties and its walls come into contact, rubbing against each other. Eating food, which once again separates the walls of the stomach, relieves the gnawing sensation.

“For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.” John 1:16 (NASB)

When we have an overall sense of emptiness, it is likely that we are suffering from spiritual “hunger pains.” The living Word of God is our spiritual food. There are several scriptures that speak about feeding upon His word. Ezekiel equates the eating of God’s Word to the sweetness of honey, and Jeremiah tells how eating scripture echoed the joy and rejoicing found in his heart.

“And He said to me, “Son of man, feed your belly, and fill your stomach with this scroll that I give you.” So I ate, and it was in my mouth like honey in sweetness.” Ezekiel 3:3 (NKJV)

“Your words were found, and I ate them, and Your word was to me the joy and rejoicing of my heart; For I am called by Your name, O LORD God of hosts.
Jeremiah 15:16 (NKJV)

Our body needs food for energy and it is essential for good health. Our spirit requires the wisdom, encouragement, and instruction found in the Bible to maintain spiritual health. As we move through our day, food fuels our physical body and helps us to think clearly. Without sufficient nourishment, accomplishing tasks become harder. Again, in the spiritual realm, without the Word freshly consumed daily, we will stumble and find ourselves less effective in our witness. Meditating on the truths and promises of God aids us in facing adversity and overcoming snares set by the evil one.

Our Lord does not encourage a “feast and famine” attitude when it comes to nourishing our spirit. Just as we eat food several times a day, we are encouraged to read the Bible daily. The Israelites were instructed to collect manna daily. (Exodus 16) This bread from heaven would rot if it were left for the next day. Additionally, it was collected in the morning, as it would melt under the heat of the sun.

Viewed as an analogy, this scripture suggests we consume the Word in the morning before our day begins. It is so easy to put God on the back burner and get caught up in the cares of the day. We need to put Him first! The instruction and encouragement we glean in our quiet time will carry us throughout the day.

“I am the LORD your God, who brought you out of the land of Egypt; Open your mouth wide, and I will fill it.” Psalm 81:10 (NKJV)

“But He answered and said, “It is written, ‘Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceeds from the mouth of God.’” Matthew 4:4 (NKJV)

“O God, You are my God; Early will I seek You; My soul thirsts for You; My flesh longs for You, in a dry and thirsty land where there is no water.” Psalm 63:1 (NKJV)

If we feel unsatisfied with life and empty, reflection is necessary. Why are we feeling empty when we know the Holy Spirit is alive within us? Has the enemy succeeded in stealing our hope? Have we set aside God’s will and turned our focus to fleshly desires and ambitions? Is the sovereignty of God and His position as our Creator now questioned or even disrespected? Have we forgotten the abundance of His love?

“The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10 (NKJV)

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

Or, has God asked us to move in a new direction, and the fear of leaving behind that which is familiar, upsetting our peace of mind? Maybe the emptiness we feel is because God has more for us. Do we have a vice grip on the past and present? If we cannot open our hands to hold God’s hand, how can He lead us into new territory and new blessings? Trusting God to fill us with understanding, knowledge, and necessary skills is a test. He WILL test our faith!

“And He has filled him with the Spirit of God, in wisdom and understanding, in knowledge and all manner of workmanship, to design artistic works, to work in gold and silver and bronze” Exodus 35:31-32 (NKJV)

“He who descended is also the One who ascended far above all the heavens, that He might fill all things.” Ephesians 4:10 (NKJV)

The Lord will add many to His kingdom through believers who walk in the fullness of Christ Jesus. Grace will abound to those who walk in obedience. Joy will fill their hearts while they sow the seeds of His love and share the promise of eternal life.

“For he was a good man, full of the Holy Spirit and of faith. And a great many people were added to the Lord.” Acts 11:24 (NKJV)

“For of His fullness we have all received, and grace upon grace.” John 1:16 (NASB)

When emptiness fills our spirit we ought to look towards service and opportunities to help others in need. By turning our focus upwards and outwards, God will fill us with new joy. This joy comes from having been found worthy to serve the King of Kings. Our pleasure brings contentment since pleasing God, through our service and love, has now become our delight. Brand new and astounding desires will begin to formulate in our weary hearts that are aligned to His will.

With God, nothing is impossible. When we put Him in the driver’s seat, He will take us on an incredible journey. Expect the unexpected! Detours are not really detours after all. They are an important part of our journey, full of lessons and life applications.

When God’s will for us has become our all-consuming desire, we will not suffer true emptiness. With the indwelling of the Holy Spirit, we are indeed filled. Any emptiness that comes from unfulfilled desires or sorrows will be refined in the Refiner’s fire. This takes time and the heat of the furnace is painful. Count your trial as a blessing. Our joy is not the trial itself, but the fruit that is born out of our adversity.

“My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience. But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4 (NKJV)

Arriving at utter submission, and a state of unquestioned commitment is difficult to say the least. For we wrestle not our flesh alone but also powers of darkness. When an absolute yielding of self has been achieved, emptiness will no longer prevail. For He is the only One who can completely satisfy every need. He alone makes us whole.

If we continue to feel empty, our sorrow or desire has not been completely restored by God’s healing love. Possibly, our hearts have yet to lay all the disappointment and pain at His feet. An “If Only” may remain, interfering with an utterly yielded faith and hope in Christ. An absolute faith that God has permitted what is best for us, and for those we love, is still working itself out.

Our focus on “self” is what gets in the way of complete joy and peace. When HE is our all-in- all, we are filled to overflowing. But everything, EVERYTHING else must be placed behind Him. God alone and HIS good pleasure is all we should want and hope for in life.
Easy to accomplish? NO!
But deserved? Yes, YES INDEED!

“To know the love of Christ which passes knowledge; that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.” Ephesians 3:19 (NKJV)

“Being filled with the fruits of righteousness which are by Jesus Christ, to the glory and praise of God.” Philippians 1:11 (NKJV)

“And the disciples were continually filled with joy and with the Holy Spirit.” Acts 13:52 (NASB)

Your Mind Is A Garden

*Mind is a Garden

God will often speak to His children through nature. A garden is full of lessons and analogies if only we have eyes to see and a heart that listens. In order to enjoy a beautiful and healthy garden, a lot of work must take place. However, the fruit and pleasure to be gained is well worth the trouble.

In the spring, soil is turned over and prepared for plants and seeds. Fertilizer is applied to the flowers/plants for vigorous growth. Watering is necessary along with the chore of weeding.

The trick to weeding is staying on top of their assault. A little weeding every day will prevent an invasion that overwhelms and chokes out desired plants. However, if weeds are ignored, they will take over a garden. Most are very resilient and determined to grow and multiply. Getting rid of them will require much time and effort.

Our spiritual growth is a lot like a garden. Consider sin as the invading weeds. Sin will mangle and impair our development in Christ Jesus. Sins, like weeds, are quick to grow and multiply, which is why daily reflection and removal should be practiced.

When a sinful thought enters our mind, we can act on it or ignore it. The Devil keeps busy by planting appealing but unhealthy thoughts in our head. Thankfully, the Holy Spirit is faithful to protect us. With discernment, we can recognize and turn from every evil.

However, we have been given a free will. Every day we make choices, follow God or ignore His laws. With God’s grace, we are able to take every thought captive and turn from sin.

Casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ”    2 Corinthians 10:5 (NKJV)

Therefore gird up the loins of your mind, be sober, and rest your hope fully upon the grace that is to be brought to you at the revelation of Jesus Christ” 1 Peter 1:13 (NKJV)

Self-control is a characteristic belonging to the fruit of the Spirit. We cultivate the fruit by reading the Word and filling our minds with God’s truth. Our decisions on entertainment choices and fellowship with others are also key.

But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”   Galatians 5:22-23 (NKJV)

Depending on how bound we are to a particular sin will usually determine the length and intensity of our spiritual battle. Strongholds can be broken! There is no temptation set before us where God has not provided an escape.

No temptation has overtaken you except such as is common to man; but God is faithful, who will not allow you to be tempted beyond what you are able, but with the temptation will also make the way of escape, that you may be able to bear it.” 1 Corinthians 10:13 (NKJV)

Obedience and submission to God matures our spiritual garden of faith. Our old man is corrupt and we are to walk as new beings, in the righteousness and holiness of God. This is not always easy, but there will be joy in every decision made to lay down self and take on God’s character and will.

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)

For the grace of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, teaching us that, denying ungodliness and worldly lusts, we should live soberly, righteously, and godly in the present age” Titus 2:11-12 (NKJV)

If fear and anxiety are an issue, robbing peace of mind, again take every thought captive. Recall the faithfulness of God in the past and trust He will continue to be faithful today and tomorrow. Fear and anxiety only produce weeds. They will not bear fruit of any worth.

Cease from anger, and forsake wrath; Do not fret—it only causes harm.” Psalm 37:8 (NKJV)

May the peace of Christ, which transcends all understanding, guard your heart and mind. There is an escape for all sin because the blood of Jesus Christ covers us. Resist the devil and he must flee. This is a promise. Be bold and stouthearted and remember to put on your spiritual armor. May the helmet of salvation inspire you to put on the mind of Christ.

Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:6-7 (NKJV)

What Should I Do?

 

God's WillWhat Should I do?

To know God’s will, in any given circumstance, requires patience. Waiting for Him to speak and direct our path entails self-control and faith. But with patience we are made complete to the point of not lacking anything. What a promise! To be made perfect through trials and testings which serve to cultivate our patience, a facet of the fruit of the Spirit.

My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.  But let patience have its perfect work, that you may be perfect and complete, lacking nothing.” James 1:2-4 (NKJV)

But what if you need to know God’s will immediately? First, do you REALLY need an answer in the next minute, or is that your will? If you don’t require an instant message, pray and wait to hear from the Lord. If you DO need to act quickly, the grace of God will direct you and the discernment of the Holy Spirit will guide. Things will suddenly line up, come to you miraculously, doors will close (or open), or God will send somebody to help.

How do we know if something is God’s will? First, if something does not line up with the Word of God… it is NOT God’s will. Our heavenly Father will never encourage us to compromise our faith or sin. If it is a decision between one job and another, ask God to bless your decision and then close a door. If both doors are closed, something better lies ahead. If both doors remain open, pick one and trust God will bless you for seeking His face in the first place.

Can a person wait too long to hear from God? No, but there are some who hear His answer and do not like His reply, thus they wait and wait and wait some more. If we think a willful pause will change God’s mind, after we have received an answer, careful consideration of self-motives should occur.

“If anyone wills to do His will, he shall know concerning the doctrine, whether it is from God or whether I speak on My own authority.” John 7:17 (NKJV)

“Do I want my will more than God’s will? Have I yielded my heart and do I trust God with my desires? Have I asked God to make His will my will and passion?”

Since God created each one of us with a unique purpose, He has also equipped us to accomplish that good work. Faith in this promise will carry us through times of uncertainty.

Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ” Philippians 1:6 (NKJV)

For we are His workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand that we should walk in them.” Ephesians 2:10 (NKJV)

If an opportunity has seemingly slipped by, it is possible God never had it in His master plan. And if the opportunity was ordained, God will guide us off our rabbit trail and direct us back to the proper destination. He is in control. He is sovereign and has unrestricted power. Even before our birth, He knew we would get off course, so He designed specific lessons for our rabbit trail. God is never surprised or caught off guard by our actions. He knows our weaknesses and works to build them into future strengths.

We may want specifics when it comes to following His will, but He allows us to make choices. If we are yielded to him, He has ways of preventing wrong choices. So, never be fearful about making a decision if you have laid it at His feet.

Now when they had gone through Phrygia and the region of Galatia, they were forbidden by the Holy Spirit to preach the word in Asia.  After they had come to Mysia, they tried to go into Bithynia, but the Spirit did not permit them.” Acts 16:6-7 (NKJV)

God knows our heart and our desire to please Him.  He does not want His children walking around paralyzed with fear, anxious over making a “wrong” decision. James 4:6 assures us that God offers grace to the humble. If you are wrestling with a big decision, take comfort this promise and trust God will guide your steps.

“But He gives more grace. Therefore, He says:                                                                        ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’” James 4:6 (NKJV)

*Meditate on the following verses and pray over any decisions you need to make.

’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, So are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” Isaiah 55:8-9 (NKJV)

 Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding;  In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.”   Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.”  James 1:5-6 (NKJV)

Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” Romans 8:27 (NKJV)

Our Longing For God

_Long for God

As the deer pants for streams of water, so my soul pants for you, my God. My soul thirsts for God, for the living God. When can I go and meet with God?” Psalm 42:1-2 (NIV)

“At night my soul longs for You, indeed, my spirit within me seeks You diligently; For when the earth experiences Your judgments the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness.” Isaiah 26:9 (NASB)

Our longing for God should be greater than any craving that consumes us. We need to be passionate, to the point of being overwhelmed, in our desire to sit in His holy presence. The scriptures compare our yearning for God to that of a deer panting for streams of water. To yearn for God means we long for His fellowship.

God is our friend. However, it is up to us to cultivate this precious relationship. He already knows us inside and out. He is waiting for us to get to know Him. If we don’t spend time with God, we cannot expect to know Him intimately.

Some of us are satisfied with friends who are simply acquaintances, surface friends who don’t require much time or effort. Acquaintances are great for small talk and chit chat, a friendly hello over the backyard fence, but these friends are superficial.

Then there are friends who take. They take our time, our energy, and a lot of our patience. They take and we give, and give, and give. The relationship is not balanced and we see them more of a ministry than an equitable friendship. I wonder if God looks down on us and see us in this same light. We take and He gives and gives… and gives.

True friendship is an investment of time and energy. It requires an open heart. God created us as relational beings, with a need for love and a desire to be understood. Since we were made in the image of God, it makes sense to conclude, although He does not NEED our love and understanding, He DESIRES our love and fellowship. He wants to be with us, and share His wisdom, love, power, and beauty. He wants US to know HIM intimately.

Are we so in love with God that we desire nothing else? Do we eat, breathe, and dream of Him? Are we so passionately desperate for His presence that we cry out for Him like a parched desert crying out for rain? Do the things of this world hold little worth when compared to KNOWING God? What are the secret desires in our heart? Are our hidden desires for heavenly treasure, or are they tied to earthly passions and belongings?

Whom have I in heaven but You? And earth has nothing I desire besides You.” Psalm 73:25 (NIV)

 I spread out my hands to You; My soul longs for You like a thirsty land. Selah” Psalm 143:6 (NKJV)

When we are in love, it is hard to be parted from the one we adore. In fact, many have suffered a broken heart from loosing the love of their life. Should we not have the same yearning love for our blessed Savior?

My soul breaks with longing for Your judgments at all times.” Psalm 11:20 (NKJV)

“With my soul I have desired You in the night, yes, by my spirit within me I will seek You early; For when Your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world will learn righteousness.” Isaiah 26:9 (NKJV)

God wants us to seek Him and He wants to be found! He does not want to play HIDE AND SEEK and remain hidden behind the sofa. Never far away or out of our reach, He rewards the seeker.

How does He reward the seeker? What is the reward? Dear Friend, it is with treasure. Our treasure is God, yes, God alone. What more do we need?

“So that they should seek the Lord, in the hope that they might grope for Him and find Him though He is not far from each one of us” Acts 17:27 (NKJV)

“I love those who love Me, and those who seek Me diligently will find Me.” Proverbs 8:17 (NKJV)

“The man who has God for his treasure has all things in One. Many ordinary treasures may be denied him, or if he is allowed to have them, the enjoyment of them will be so tempered that they will never be necessary to his happiness. Or if he must see them go, one after one, he will scarcely feel a sense of loss, for having the SOURCE of all things he has in One all satisfaction, all pleasure, all delight. Whatever he may love he has actually lost nothing, for he now has it all in One, and he has it purely, legitimately and forever.”

“O God, I have tasted Thy goodness, and it has both satisfied me and made me thirsty for more. I am painfully conscious of my need of further grace. I am ashamed of my lack of desire. O God, The Triune God, I want to want Thee; I long to be filled with longing. I thirst to be made more thirsty still.” (P.14 The Pursuit Of God by A.W. Tozer)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RVQmZCK4Fiw

During your quiet time pray about your relationship with God. Do you long for His presence? Do you yearn for a deeper and more intimate relationship with Him?

My soul faints with longing for your salvation, but I have put my hope in Your word.” Psalm 119:81 (NIV)

“I long for Him more than sentinels long for the dawn.” Psalm 130:6 (TLB)

Relying On God

Rely on God Begins w:Each Day

“Relying on God has to begin all over again every day as if nothing had yet been done.” ~ C.S. Lewis

A mountain climber must rely on his equipment to sustain him if climbing alone. A child riding to school in a car must rely on the driver for his safety. Sometimes we put our trust in objects and other times we put our trust in man. But the reality is, God alone sustains us! We are to rely on HIM for all of our needs. To rely is to depend on with full trust or confidence.

Relying on God requires faith, so there needs to be a certainty of His love hidden in our hearts. With this assurance, we are then able to trust His character and believe our every need will be met. Hebrews 11:1 defines faith as a “confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.”

A month after leaving Egypt, the children of God started to worry about running out of food. Many of the animals taken in the great exodus had already been slaughtered to feed the masses. The Lord was aware of their anxiety and wanted the Israelites to depend on Him for their survival. Therefore, He spoke to Moses and said,

“Behold, I will rain bread from heaven for you. And the people shall go out and gather a certain quota every day, that I may test them, whether they will walk in My law or not.” Exodus 16:4 (NKJV)

In a miraculous way, God provided food for His children. Manna, the bread God rained down from heaven, tasted like wafers made with honey. Their supernatural provision was sweet to the taste AND met their need for nourishment.

Had rained down manna on them to eat, and given them of the bread of heaven. Men ate angels’ food; He sent them food to the full.” Psalm 78:24 (NKJV)

“Jesus declared, “I am the bread of life. Whoever comes to me will never go hungry, and whoever believes in me will never be thirsty.” John 6:35 (NKJV)

Jesus is the “Bread of Life.” He is our spiritual food. The Bible is the living Word of God and so we are to feed upon it, daily. Normally, one does not go a day or even a week without food. We need to eat in order to stay healthy and strong. Food gives our body energy and enables us to move throughout the day.

God likes to speak to us through analogies, so the feeding of our body with food is aligned to feeding our spirit with the Word of God. Our spirit needs the living Word to energize and move us through each day. Just as our physical body becomes weak and unhealthy without nourishment, our spirit becomes weak and unhealthy when we neglect the scriptures. But when we feed upon the Word, His instruction will become our encouragement. His love within us will become more obvious to others. Our actions will be more like that of Christ.

It is worth noting that the Israelites had to collect their food daily (except on the Sabbath). It took some measure of effort on their part to gather the manna, for it was as fine as frost. Our heavenly Father will always provide for our needs, but He expects an effort on our part.

If the Israelites did not collect the manna in the morning, it melted in the heat of the day. They had to make an effort to rise in the morning and gather in God’s provision before it spoiled. Furthermore, they could not gather extra (except for the Sabbath) and keep it overnight because it would go bad and breed worms. In order to sustain themselves, they had to collect manna daily. We are to follow their example and feed our spirit with the bread of life, daily.

“Give us this day our daily bread.” Matthew 6:11 (NKJV)

For forty years, the Israelites wandered through the wilderness. Every day they ate the manna God provided. This is a reminder to rely on God for strength and provision during personal times of adversity and testing. Encouragement is provided throughout the Bible. We can find great comfort by reading about the many ways God helped His people in the past. He will help us today as well.

Meditate on the following scriptures and pray about seeking God daily.

My voice You shall hear in the morning, O Lord; In the morning I will direct it to You, and I will look up.” Psalm 5:3 (NKJV)

But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” Matthew 6:33 (NKJV)

My soul waits for the Lord more than those who watch for the morning—Yes, more than those who watch for the morning.” Psalm 130:6 (NKJV)

Look to the Lord and His strength; Seek His face always.” Psalm 105:4 (NKJV)

I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” Galatians 2:20 (NKJV)

God Is In The Details

 

*7

God wants a relationship with His adopted children, but why? He doesn’t need us.

“When I consider Your heavens, the work of Your fingers,                                              The moon and the stars, which You have ordained,                                                        What is man that You are mindful of him,                                                                             And the son of man that You visit him”  Psalm 8:3-4 (NKJV)

The answer is LOVE. Even though God did not need man He chose to create us anyway. And because of His abundant love and creativity, He uniquely designed every one of us. Our physical attributes were given much attention, including distinct fingerprints and an individual genetic makeup. Blue eyes, brown eyes, big nose or small, we were created in the exact image God desired, and we are all beautiful in His sight. Dare we criticize the Potter of imagined flaws when He sees them as unique and perfect in detail?

We were created with a purpose, so while God knit us together in our mother’s womb, He created our personality and gave us spiritual gifts. These were provided so that we could accomplish tasks that would fulfill His perfect will for us and glorify His name.

“For You created my inmost being; You knit me together in my mother’s womb.”      Psalm 139:13 (NIV)

But God is not only concerned with OUR physical features. EVERYTHING in this universe shouts out, “GOD IS IN THE DETAILS!” All of creation has been given His attention. Consider the stars and heavenly bodies. The orbits these celestial bodies travel are all perfectly aligned! Trees, flowers, and crops have specific seasons of growth, fruit and harvest. All the creativity that went into designing the animals of earth hint of God’s humor and sense of fun (Consider the elephant and the armadillo). God’s appreciation for beauty is evident when we observe the many colorful birds and flowers of this world.

“He counts the number of the stars; He calls them all by name. Great is our Lord, and mighty in power; His understanding is infinite.”  Psalm 147:4-5 (NKJV)

If God is involved in the feather design of an exotic bird and the minute patterns displayed on orchids, can we question whether God is involved in the details of our life? 

“And there is no creature hidden from His sight, but all things are naked and open to the eyes of Him to whom we must give account.”  Hebrews 4:13 (NKJV)

God sees all and knows all things. From heaven, He looks down upon mankind and watches all who live on earth. He is not surprised by the right turn we make, even though it should have been a left. He knows how to direct us back to the path leading to glory.

“From heaven the Lord looks down and sees all mankind; From His dwelling place He watches all who live on earth— He who forms the hearts of all, who considers everything they do.”  Psalm 33:13-15 (NKJV)

Consider King David. He was a man after God’s own heart, but he was also flawed. David fell into sin with Bathsheba. God was aware of the details that led up to the death of Bathsheba’s husband, so He sent Nathaniel to King David. Through this prophet, God exposed David’s sin and revealed the consequences he would have to endure.

“So David said to Nathan, ‘I have sinned against the Lord.’

And Nathan said to David, ‘The Lord also has put away your sin; you shall not die.  However, because by this deed you have given great occasion to the enemies of the Lord to blaspheme, the child also who is born to you shall surely die.’ Then Nathan departed to his house.”  2 Samuel 12:13-15 (NKJV)

When we suffer a loss or walk through adversity, God is with us. He sees each detail of our trial and provides the necessary help we need to carry on. When we are weak, HE is our strength. When we need wisdom, all we have to do is ask without doubting, and it will be provided. How could God provide the necessary wisdom for our unique situation if He was not aware of the details surrounding our circumstances?

“If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask of God, who gives to all liberally and without reproach, and it will be given to him. But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for he who doubts is like a wave of the sea driven and tossed by the wind.”  James 1:5-6 (NKJV)

When we have a need, the Lord knows of it before we do! His provisions are always sufficient, but they are not always abundant or given in the manner we imagined. He knows the details that need to fall into place down the road, and we only see the present and a few steps ahead. Things might appear to be hopeless, but God works things out so that He gets the credit and is glorified. 

“Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.”  Matthew 6:8 (NKJV)

Corrie ten Boom wrote a poem about a tapestry God weaves of our life. There are dark and golden threads and the pattern is detailed and beautiful. But her words remind us that the underside of the weaving is all we witness, which means it will appear chaotic and unattractive. The beauty of the canvas God designed will become apparent only after we pass from this world. Only then will we understand why the dark threads were added and see the beauty they added to our tapestry. God is an artist and makes everything beautiful in His time. He is involved in every detail. He is aware of what we face each day.

“Life is but a Weaving” (the Tapestry Poem)

“My life is but a weaving                                                                                                                           Between my God and me.                                                                                                                                   I cannot choose the colors                                                                                                                             He weaveth steadily.

Oft’ times He weaveth sorrow;                                                                                                                     And I in foolish pride                                                                                                                                Forget He sees the upper                                                                                                                                  And I the underside.

Not ’til the loom is silent                                                                                                                               And the shuttles cease to fly                                                                                                                         Will God unroll the canvas                                                                                                                               And reveal the reason why.

The dark threads are as needful                                                                                                                       In the weaver’s skillful hand                                                                                                                            As the threads of gold and silver                                                                                                                   In the pattern He has planned

He knows, He loves, He cares;                                                                                                                 Nothing this truth can dim.                                                                                                                            He gives the very best to those                                                                                                                  Who leave the choice to Him.”

― Corrie ten Boom

“Before a word is on my tongue You, Lord, know it completely.”  Psalm 139:4 (NIV)

“My frame was not hidden from You, when I was made in secret, and skillfully wrought in the lowest parts of the earth. Your eyes saw my substance, being yet unformed.

And in Your book they all were written, the days fashioned for me, when as yet there were none of them.”  Psalm 139:15-16 (NKJV)

“Indeed, the very hairs of your head are all numbered. Don’t be afraid; you are worth more than many sparrows.”  Luke 12:7 (NIV)

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

 

Pride and Humility

Humility:Chambers

“The greatest characteristic of a saint is humility.” ~ Oswald Chambers

What is the first RECORDED sin mentioned in the Bible? Many of us might think of Adam and Eve and the Garden of Eden. Yes, original sin did take place in paradise and was committed by the very first children of God. However, Satan committed the first sin RECORDED in the Word of God and Pride was his downfall. Shortly after his sin of pride, rebellion was added to his long list of transgressions.

“ ‘I will ascend above the heights of the clouds, I will be like the Most High.’ ”  Isaiah 14:14 (NKJV)

“You were the anointed cherub who covers; I established you; You were on the holy mountain of God; You walked back and forth in the midst of fiery stones. You were perfect in your ways from the day you were created, till iniquity was found in you.” Ezekiel 28:14-15 (NKJV)

Unfortunately, mankind is NOT immune to the sin of pride. Although sin is sin, and all sin leads to death, pride is often the root cause of many other sins. Pride wars against Christian humility, a virtue highly valued by God. In addition, remember what happened to Satan when God took offense to his pride. He fell…. And he fell hard!

“Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall.”  Proverbs 16:18 (NKJV)

Before destruction the heart of a man is haughty, and before honor is humility.”   Proverbs 18:12 (NKJV)

Jesus, in absolute humility, stepped down from heaven and lived among man. He could have called upon a legion of angels to take out His enemies and at any time He could have returned to His Father’s throne room. However, with a love we cannot fully understand, He died for us and was humiliated by those whom He Himself created! Spit on and whipped, bruised for our transgressions, Jesus lived and died in humility and rose again. He conquered the grave and Satan knows it.

God was looking for obedience in His son, and Jesus was obedient to that which He was called. Selfless and humble, Christ regarded others above Himself. Take a minute to consider that measure of humility….. God, our creator, put us ahead of His needs and wants. Did He not take on the role of a servant? Did He not wash the feet of His disciples? Was He not born in a stable?

“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sakes He became poor, that you through His poverty might become rich.”   2 Corinthians 8:9 (NKJV)

We are told what is good and what the Lord requires of us.

“He has shown you, O man, what is good; And what does the Lord require of you? But to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?”           Micah6: 8 (NKJV)

Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves” Philippians 2:3 (NASB)

With pride in our hearts, we can’t see beyond ourselves. Pride repels the call to love others because, with it, we are caught up in our own self-love. Pride takes our focus off God. We forget that our Creator is the one who has given us everything: our looks and gifts, our talents and ideas, our intellect and successes in life.

“Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above and comes down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow of turning.”               James 1:17 (NKJV)

In no uncertain terms, God expects His children to walk with humility. The fruit produced from a humble life is the attainment of wisdom. Proverbs 8:11 is just one scripture that speaks of wisdom’s value.

“For wisdom is better than rubies, and all the things one may desire cannot be compared with her.”

When pride comes, then comes shame, But with the humble is wisdom.”   Proverbs 11:2 (NKJV)

Furthermore, a promise is given to those who walk in humility…. Honor.

“Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time.”    1 Peter 5:6 (NKJV)

Wisdom’s instruction is to fear the Lord, and humility comes before honor.”  Proverbs 15:33 (NKJV)

“Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up.”  James 4:10 (NKJV)

May we all take some time today to consider our ways and root out any pride that has taken root in our hearts. Let us avoid a fall like the one Satan suffered. Let us all ask if we have been claiming the glory that really belongs to God.

If we win a talent contest… are we remembering who gave us the talent in the first place? Are we using our gifts to bless God and the Body of Christ? Has pride given way to self-love and caused us to ignore those in need? Let us be completely humble, and ask God to remove the shame of pride and replace it with humility and grace. Then, let us walk as children of light and servants of the Most High.

Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love.” Ephesians 4:2 (NKJV)

Good and upright is the Lord; Therefore He teaches sinners in the way. The humble He guides in justice, and the humble He teaches His way.” Psalm 25:8-9 (NKJV)

Post Navigation