WeepingintoDancing

Overcoming Difficult Trials

Archive for the category “Transformation/Sanctification/Refine”

A Bondservant For Christ

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Would you define yourself as a bondservant for Christ? The Greek word for bondservant conveys a strong sense of “slave” over that of a “servant.” So, for a Christian to be God’s bondservant, they must desire to give unconditional service and loyalty to their Master.

“Then Jesus said to the twelve, “Do you also want to go away?”

But Simon Peter answered Him, “Lord, to whom shall we go? You have the words of eternal life.  Also, we have come to believe and know that You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” John 6:67-69 (NKJV)

Bondservants serve God with a grateful heart. They acknowledge His authority and the forgiveness of sin through His victory over the cross. Salvation (a free gift offered to all) is so precious to them, they ask God to fill them with His love and power to accomplish His perfect will. The bondservant of Christ understands that all glory belongs to God and they serve Him with this purpose in mind.

Servants and slaves are given tasks daily. With a desire to please their master, they strive to accomplish their assignments with diligence and integrity. Likewise, a bondservant of Christ must keep his eyes on the prize, running their spiritual race with endurance. This means they view every job and duty as GOOD, completing it with a thankful heart. Because all Christians serve a good and faithful Creator, we can trust that every unpleasant task, trial, or burden is for our benefit and the glory of God.

Let a man so consider us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover, it is required in stewards that one be found faithful.”   1 Corinthians 4:1-2 (NKJV)

Today, ask yourself if you COMPLETELY trust the Father’s love for you and the faithful promises within the living Word. Have you claimed them? Hope is found in God alone. “ ’But now, Lord, what do I look for? My hope is in You.’ ” Psalm 39:7 (NIV)

Our identity should be in Christ. Our significance does not rest upon our occupation, talents, or position in this life. We are valuable because we belong to God. We are valuable because we are precious in His sight.

So as we live a life of faith, “self” should be laid aside since we are now new creations.

Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.” 2 Corinthians 5:17 (NKJV) Christ lives within us.

The devotion and loyalty of a bondservant will require self-control, trust, and focus. To remain loyal to Jesus, especially in these times of political correctness, will require sacrifice, suffering, and even persecution. But this should not surprise us! Jesus forewarned us.

“I have told you these things so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 (NIV)

Why then choose the high road? Each of us should ask this question. The answers will vary, but love is a big part of the answer. God’s love for us, and the debt Jesus paid on our behalf is proof of HIS unconditional love and faithfulness. A free gift does not require a gift in return, but a thankful heart will want to give back. And how do we give back to a God? How do we demonstrate our love and loyalty? The first two commandments give us the answer.

“Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind and with all your strength,” and “Love your neighbor as yourself.”  Matthew 22:37-39 (NKJV)

Let us all consider our service and loyalty to God. Deuteronomy 7:9 and Romans 8:38-39 tell of His faithfulness to us. But God has made it clear that we too are to demonstrate faithfulness. “If you ever forget the LORD your God and follow other gods and worship and bow down to them, I testify against you today that you will surely be destroyed” (Deuteronomy 8:19). 

Yes, God desires faithful servants. To be faithful is one thing and a bondservant another. What distinguishes the bondservant of Christ is his spiritual maturity. Sanctification has served to pull dross and sin to the surface, and this saint recognizes he is nothing without Christ. He concedes that his righteousness comes from Christ alone, who lives within his heart. Over time, through struggle and adversity, the refining process has revealed the importance of submission. For when we are weak God is strong. When we step aside, God is finally free to work. With the decision to live for Christ no matter the cost, a bondservant is fashioned.

Wherever his master leads, he will follow. The less travelled path is the one God has prepared for this saint. Eventually, it ends in the high places. But the journey before him is complicated and covers dangerous territory, with more demanding terrain. It is not for the baby Christian or for those who are weak in faith.

The ground is often desert-like, where lost and weary souls await guidance and help. They thirst for the living waters and the bondservant shares the Good News to bring them to back to their senses. They will revive the deceived with words of truth and hope, reminding them of the unfailing love of the Father. By pointing them to Jesus, they will once again see His light and find their footing to back to righteousness and truth.

The bondservant of Christ will serve his Master and go where others would dare not follow. Why? Because the will of God is now his as well. Faithful believer or devoted bondservant… Which will you choose?

Intimacy with Christ comes when we invite Him to invade every space within our soul. Let Him brake down every wall of shame, sin, and self-will. He will rebuild and fill the space with His righteousness. With every little “death” there comes new life. With every surrender there is victory, and in each decision to serve God a reward in heaven.

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Blessed Father God,

Thank You for choosing me to live eternally with You. As Your bondservant, I will serve You loyally and with a thankful heart. I am blessed by Your desire to know me intimately. I long to know You more and more.

I now ask for a greater and deeper faith, one that trusts You unconditionally and with my whole heart. I do not want to lean on my own understanding when adversity and times of testing come. Your ways and thoughts are so much higher than my own. Grant me a faith that is certain of Your unconditional love and faithfulness. Enable me to REST in You, even during the most painful and trying circumstances. Be my peace, strength, and hope.

Thank You for calling me Your child. I am Yours. Do with me, as You will. Strengthen and equip me to endure any purpose You have ordained for my life and may I succeed in glorifying Your holy name. Amen.

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For I am persuaded that neither death nor life, nor angels nor principalities nor powers, nor things present nor things to come, nor height nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God which is in Christ Jesus our Lord.Romans 8:38-39 (NKJV)

“Therefore you shall be careful to do as the Lord your God has commanded you; you shall not turn aside to the right hand or to the left. You shall walk in all the ways which the Lord your God has commanded you, that you may live and that it may be well with you, and that you may prolong your days in the land which you shall possess.” Deuteronomy 5:32-33 (NKJV)

“And now, Israel, what does the Lord your God require of you, but to fear the Lord your God, to walk in all His ways and to love Him, to serve the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul, and to keep the commandments of the Lord and His statutes which I command you today for your good?” Deuteronomy 10:12-13 (NKJV)

“Therefore know that the Lord your God, He is God, the faithful God who keeps covenant and mercy for a thousand generations with those who love Him and keep His commandments” Deuteronomy 7:9 (NKJV)

Only fear the Lord, and serve Him in truth with all your heart; for consider what great things He has done for you.1 Samuel 12:24 (NKJV)

Running Home

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For just a moment, imagine that you can see the colors and beauty of a robe woven from all of your demonstrations of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. It would take your breath away! Unique in design, for everyone shows kindness in a different way, your robe would be singularly remarkable and noteworthy.

Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience.Colossians 3:12 (NIV)

Every small and unselfish act of kindness is noticed by God and used for His glory. A smile offered to a crying child, a dinner sent to a sick neighbor, even the helping hand offered to a stray dog is recognized. We are told to bind kindness and truth around our necks. A necklace to remind us that, with each new day, we are given opportunities to share the love of Christ.

For God is not unjust to forget your work and labor of love which you have shown toward His name, in that you have ministered to the saints, and do minister. And we desire that each one of you show the same diligence to the full assurance of hope until the end, that you do not become sluggish, but imitate those who through faith and patience inherit the promises.Hebrew 6:10-12 (NKJV)

Additionally, we are called to put on our spiritual armor…. And it is called, “the armor of light.”

The night is nearly over; the day is almost here. So let us put aside the deeds of darkness and put on the armor of light.”  Romans 13:12 (NIV)

We walk in a world where mere hints of heaven’s beauty abound, and if we take the time to acknowledge it, we are often at a loss for words. Heaven and all of its glory are much more than we can imagine. It will take an eternity to see every beauty and wonder that Father God has created for us.

This knowledge of a better place, in another world, spurs us on. It comforts those who have lost loved ones and encourages those lacking hope and faith. We are but aliens in a foreign land while we live out our lives on earth.

We must run the spiritual race God ordained, and often it is a marathon. We see the finish line but the upward climb leaves us panting for breath. Panting to the point where we no longer have any strength to continue, so the heavenly hosts cheer us on and we continue the upward climb.

Our earthly beloveds run along beside us for as long as they can, but as the race comes to an end they no longer can follow. They assure us that it is well with them and that we must finish our race on our own. Parting is so hard, but we hear the call of angels and the voice of our Father. We say our good-byes and move towards the radiance ahead, dressed in our armor of light and wearing our robes woven from the righteousness we inherited through the blood of Jesus Christ.

Every kindness, selfless act of love, compassionate act, patient response, and gentle word of grace offered in this life will continue to live on in the hearts of those we leave behind. God will cause others to water the seeds that we have sown in His name. Parting with loved ones is just another lesson from God; it chips away at our sinful man, causes us to reflect on heavenly things, and serves to refine us into the image of His son.

Reminding ourselves that death is just part of the journey called life will indeed renew our hunger for our forever home, for in heaven we will no longer be aliens in a foreign land. In heaven, a new journey will begin. A journey where there is no more sin, death, pain, or sorrow. A journey full of adventure, service, wonder, and joy.

Do not let kindness and truth leave you; Bind them around your neck, write them on the tablet of your heart.Proverbs 3:3 (NASB)

Therefore we also, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which so easily ensnares us, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us, looking unto Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith, who for the joy that was set before Him endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”  Hebrews 12:1-2 (NKJV) 

“And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes; there shall be no more death, nor sorrow, nor crying. There shall be no more pain, for the former things have passed away.” Revelations 21:4 (NKJV)

This devotion is dedicated to my wonderful mother…. Barbara Ann Hentschel Zelenka. She passed away on May 18th, 2015

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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).

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 By Faith And Not By Sight

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“For we walk by faith, not by sight.”
2 Corinthians 5:7 (NKJV)

AN ATHEIST’S VIEW ON LIFE

I will live my life according to these beliefs

God does not exist

It is foolish to think

That there is a God with a cosmic plan

That an all-powerful God brings redemption and healing to the pain and suffering in the world

It is a comforting thought, however

Is only wishful thinking

People can do as they please without eternal consequences

The idea that

I am deserving of Hell

Because of sin

Is a lie meant to make me a slave to those in power

“The more you have, the happier you will be”

Our existence has no grand meaning or purpose

In a world with no God

There is freedom to be who I want to be

But with God

Everything is fine

It is ridiculous to think

I am lost and in need of saving ~Unknown

A CHRISTIAN’S VIEW ON LIFE

Read the above poem from bottom to top!

 

As we live our lives on earth we must strive to live by faith, and not rely on eyesight in matters of the Spirit. God never judges a person by his or her appearance. Rather, He sees our internal heart and spirit. His love within our hearts is what transforms us into His very image.

It is by faith that we are saved, believing in an unseen Savior and a loving God. Through faith, we accept the truths found in the living Word. By faith, we acknowledge an invisible Creator designed our wondrous universe.

The disciple Thomas refused to believe Jesus had appeared to the other disciples after His crucifixion. In fact he said, “Unless I see the nail marks in His hands and put my finger where the nails were, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe.” His faith did not extend to the resurrection of Jesus.

“When Jesus appeared a week later to His disciples, Thomas was present. This time Jesus said to Thomas, “Put your finger here; see my hands. Reach out your hand and put it into my side. Stop doubting and believe.” Thomas said to Him, “My Lord and my God!” Then Jesus told him, “Because you have seen me, you have believed; blessed are those who have not seen and yet have believed.”   (John 20:25-29 NKJV)

By faith, we believe in a world not yet seen. A world we will call home for eternity. A place described in Revelations 21:4 where there shall be no more death, sorrow, pain, or crying.

Faith also helps us to comprehend and accept the supernatural world all around us. We are warned that we do not battle mere flesh and blood. Accepting as truth all talk of angels and demons, heaven and hell, the holy Trinity, and other wonders requires faith. The books of the Bible are not fairy tales. Moses, Noah, Esther, David and Goliath, and the walls of Jericho are all truth and fact.

This physical world entices and tempts believers to neglect the eternal. Therefore, we must carry our spiritual shield of faith everywhere we go. With this shield, we can stand up to the attacks and temptations the evil one tosses our way. David confronted the giant Goliath in faith and was given victory. We too shall find victory when we stand up against spiritual giants in our faith.

By surrendering our wills to God, we grow in our dependence upon Him. As we lean more upon Him our trust deepens. When this happens, the peace that transcends all understanding will build within us and guard our heart from all distress. A deeper faith is then established and we choose to give God all our cares, knowing His plans and purposes are never thwarted.

Finally, this trust and faith is the true secret to bearing trials with patient endurance. By believing in a heavenly home, we can fix our eyes on the eternal happiness that lies beyond the grave. We must recall how short these trials are when compared to the eternal glory that awaits us in heaven.

Faith will see us through loss, suffering, sorrow, and pain. For we have the eternal hope of an unseen kingdom, where we are the royal children of a King. It is only when we are finally home with our Father that we may use our sight. The enemy has no place in heaven. There will be no more deceptions that trick, tempt, or fool us. What we see in heaven will be glorious and wondrous, trust worthy and undeniable.

Since we won’t be sleeping in our eternal home, I have a hunch there will be endless wonders to explore. We won’t want to miss a thing! The eye candy will be amazing!

IN YOUR TIME OF REFLECTION, CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING VERSES AND QUOTE BY MATTHEW HENRY:

“And when the disciples saw it, they marveled, saying, “How did the fig tree wither away so soon?” So Jesus answered and said to them, “Assuredly, I say to you, if you have faith and do not doubt, you will not only do what was done to the fig tree, but also if you say to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ it will be done.  And whatever things you ask in prayer, believing, you will receive.”
Matthew 21:20-21 (NKJV)

“They shall neither hunger anymore nor thirst anymore; the sun shall not strike them, nor any heat; for the Lamb who is in the midst of the throne will shepherd them and lead them to living fountains of waters. And God will wipe away every tear from their eyes.”  Revelations 7:16-17 (NKJV)

“But He said to them, “Why are you so fearful? How is it that you have no faith?”   Mark 4:40 (NKJV)

“So the Lord said, “If you have faith as a mustard seed, you can say to this mulberry tree, ‘Be pulled up by the roots and be planted in the sea,’ and it would obey you.”
Luke 17:6 (NKJV)

“Faith is for this world, and sight is reserved for the other world: and it is our duty, and will be our interest, to walk by faith, till we come to live by sight.”
~ Matthew Henry

Go Out Into The Wilderness & Face The Dark

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Sometimes, if you want to see the stars in all their glory… you have to go out into the wilderness and face the dark. The stars remain during the day but we can’t see them. Only when darkness falls do we see their magnificent splendor. 

http://www.godfruits.com/8003/how-does-god-help-those-who-are-depressed-the-answer-will-may-surprise-you.php?fb_action_ids=10204549827480336&fb_action_types=og.comments

“And the Lord said to Aaron, “Go into the wilderness to meet Moses.” So he went and met him on the mountain of God, and kissed him.” Exodus 4:27 (NKJV)

“I will make a covenant of peace with them, and cause wild beasts to cease from the land; and they will dwell safely in the wilderness and sleep in the woods. 26 I will make them and the places all around My hill a blessing; and I will cause showers to come down in their season; there shall be showers of blessing. 27 Then the trees of the field shall yield their fruit, and the earth shall yield her increase. They shall be safe in their land; and they shall know that I am the Lord, when I have broken the bands of their yoke and delivered them from the hand of those who enslaved them.” Ezekiel 34:25-27 (NKJV)

Obedience To God=Results

*Obedience:E. Elliot

This devotion is found in my book FACING TRIALS: THOUGHTS FOR MEDITATION. Available on Amazon (eBook is just $2.99)                             http://www.amazon.com/Facing-Trials-Meditation-Cheryl-Zelenka-ebook/dp/B00K7TNT5W/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1421884466&sr=8-1&keywords=Cheryl+Zelenka&pebp=1421884468539&peasin=B00K7TNT5W

“Rest in this—it is His business to lead, command, impel, send, call or whatever you want to call it. It is your business to obey, follow, move, respond or what have you.”   — Jim Elliot

You are my friends if you do what I command you. (John 15:14 ESV)

Isn’t it a big weight off your shoulders to know that all God asks of you is obedience? He is the one in control and the one who will get results. All He asks of you is to obey His commandments. He will take care of the rest.

Satan fears the willing servant who prays daily these two simple words: “Use me.” In 2 Timothy 2:15, Paul encourages Timothy to present himself to God as one approved, as a worker who has no cause to be ashamed. Paul stresses the importance of rightly handling the Word of Truth. If we are obedient in properly handling the Word of God, then He will do the rest.

A servant and slave must obey his or her master in all things, even if the request does not make sense. It is not a matter of questioning the lord of the house; it is a matter of following through on his instructions.

The Word of God tells us that if we are faithful with the little things entrusted to our care, then He will increase our responsibility and service by placing us as caretakers over much more. God tested the faithfulness, obedience, and love of Abraham and Noah. Why would he not test us in modern times?

If God is testing you through a personal struggle or injustice, be courageous and hold onto His promises. He is the Defender of the weak and tells His children that He will fight for them; you need only be still. That is a commandment, and that requires obedience. He will fight the battle for you and achieve the results He wants and requires.

Remaining still as the spiritual battle rages on around you will not be an easy thing to do, especially if you are a person of action. To be still takes self-control and faith. You are also commanded to pray without ceasing, so as you let God fight the battle before you, pray for grace and mercy. Pray that His will be accomplished and that Enemy attacks be thwarted. He and His angel armies will be shielding you and keeping you safe, as you are tucked safely under His wing.

As you obey His commands with an obedient heart, He will honor you with bigger struggles and tasks that will serve to glorify His holy name.

CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING SCRIPTURES AND QUOTE DURING YOUR QUIET TIME

“The Lord will fight for you; you need only to be still” (Exodus 14:14 NIV).

“His master said to him, ‘Well done, good and faithful servant. You have been faithful over a little; I will set you over much. Enter into the joy of your master’” (Matthew 20:26 ESV).

 “Just as a servant knows that he must first obey his master in all things, so the surrender to an implicit and unquestionable obedience must become the essential characteristic of our lives.”   —Andrew Murray

 The biblical word for obey comes from the Greek hupakou, which means “to listen attentively.” The meaning also implies heeding or conforming to a command or to an authority. Basically, one has no choice in the matter whether or not to obey God’s commandment. It needs to be carried out whether one agrees with the order or not.

Stewart, Ed, ed. Jesus 365: A Devotional. Eugene: Harvest House Publishers, 2008.

Bruno, Bonnie. When God Steps In: Stories of Everyday Grace. Cincinnati: Standard Publishing, 2007.

A Bondservant of Christ Jesus Is Never Complacent

*bondservant

We should all strive to be satisfied and content with the provisions provided by God, but not at the risk of spiritual degeneration. When one becomes too comfortable in life, there is a serious danger of growing complacent. With complacency, self-satisfaction rules the heart. And because of this smug attitude of being pleased with ourselves, we loose interest in growing more like Christ. Thus, we hinder any further transformation God has designed for us.

“Now godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into this world, and it is certain we can carry nothing out. And having food and clothing, with these we shall be content. But those who desire to be rich fall into temptation and a snare, and into many foolish and harmful lusts which drown men in destruction and perdition.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil, for which some have strayed from the faith in their greediness, and pierced themselves through with many sorrows.”                      1 Timothy 6:6-10 (NKJV)

 

Any time “self” enters into an equation, we must pause and consider whether it should be present at all or completely stricken. A bondservant’s focus should always be on his master and his desires. What pleases the master will in turn satisfy and please the bondservant.

Therefore since we are called to be the *bondservants of Christ” (1 Co 7:22), we need not worry about finding our personal joy through selfish acts of pleasure. For if we set our focus on pleasing God, we will experience the inexpressible joy that only comes from serving the One who loves us beyond all comprehension.

To say God will never bless His children with wealth or gifts is wrong. However, we must always remember that nothing we possess is actually ours. EVERYTHING we have…. Finances, family, education, talents, beauty, intelligence…. Comes from God and belongs to God. We do not possess these things because of our own doing for God has given us the ability and grace to obtain them. To say otherwise is to loose sight of God’s dominion and His loving desire to provide and bless.

Furthermore, we ARE TO USE our God given gifts to glorify His name and bless others. We should not hide or bury our talents and then expect interest or growth. If a bondservant had a special musical ability, it would please his master to hear this gift. How would it please the master if his bondservant only sang or played his instrument in solitude and out of earshot?

Woe to the servant who is aware of a gift or talent but refuses to use it, for it was given for a reason and a harvest is expected. We must cultivate that seed God has provided. He expects interest. There is a purpose for the gift(s) you have received.

With a contented heart praise God for the many blessings in your life. Do not compare your riches to that of your neighbor. God has a reason for blessing some with financial wealth and others with less. We may not know the reason but it has nothing to do with God having favorites. He is impartial and loves all His children equally. Be sure to use your gifts and remember, “From everyone who has been given much, much will be demanded; and from the one who has been entrusted with much, much more will be asked.” Luke 12:8 (NIV)

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REFLECT ON THESE SCRIPTURES AND ASK GOD TO STIR THE GIFTS WITHIN YOU. CONSIDER WHETHER YOU ARE LIVING YOUR LIFE AS A BONDSERVANT FOR CHRIST.

“But his lord answered and said to him, ‘You wicked and lazy servant, you knew that I reap where I have not sown, and gather where I have not scattered seed. So you ought to have deposited my money with the bankers, and at my coming I would have received back my own with interest.  Therefore take the talent from him, and give it to him who has ten talents.

‘For to everyone who has, more will be given, and he will have abundance; but from him who does not have, even what he has will be taken away. And cast the unprofitable servant into the outer darkness. There will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.’” Matthew 25:26-30 (NKJV)

*A synonym for bondservant is slave.

“The description of a Biblical bondservant of is one who chooses to serve his Master till death. He will forever wear the mark of this Master. He accomplishes all the Master’s will for his life because of a love called “agape”. Exodus 21: 1-6 http://www.christsbondservants.org/Home_Files/Bondservant.html

For he who is called in the Lord while a slave is the Lord’s freedman. Likewise he who is called while free is Christ’s slave.” 1 Corinthians 7:22 (NKJV)

Unbreakable!

*7

I went to see the movie UNBROKEN today. It was worth facing 18 degree weather and icy roads. It is one you should make a point to see. I will be pondering the life of Louis Zamperini for a long time.

A while back, I felt the Lord asked me “Will you die for me?” I was not real quick in my response but I said, “Yes Lord… but I am fearful.” My fear was NOT of where I would go, eternity and heaven are my blessed assurance. No, it was the fear of PAIN and that it could be a part of my journey. I survived a brain tumor, I know the physical and emotional pain that comes with a severe illness.

However, as I watched the life story of Louis Zamperini play out before me on the movie screen, I was struck by his amazing will to SURVIVE. He faced horror after horror and I kept thinking… it would be easier to give up and die. Go home to God.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                And so…. now I have head another question. “Cheryl, will you LIVE for Me?” “I thought I was doing that Lord?” Living for Christ is facing the unknown…. including terrors and pain and suffering. We will not have all the answers to our “Whys” down here. But in heaven, we will understand how the suffering we endured worked for our good and the good of all mankind.
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     I will LIVE FOR GOD even if that means facing adversity, persecution and “little deaths” as Mr. Zamperini endured. My word for 2015 is ABIDE (Last year it was Perspective). If we ABIDE in Christ we can overcome all trials. Our victory is by the blood of the Lamb. Jesus is the victor and our strength. We live in dark times and they are only going to get darker and harder for Christians. Will you remain faithful to God… even if He requires “little deaths” with no explanation?

Get a FREE eBook Download of Facing Storms NOW!

 

*Facing Storms Front Cover 1.1

Dear Reader,

I am giving away free eBook downloads of my book FACING STORMS: DEVOTIONS FOR THOUGHT AND MEDITATION today and Sunday. Please let your friends who have Kindles and iPads know and remember…. IT’S FREE!!

http://www.amazon.com/Facing-Storms-Devotions-Thought-Meditation-ebook/dp/B00O1OJS0Y/ref=sr_1_3?s=digital-text&ie=UTF8&qid=1419741302&sr=1-3&keywords=cheryl+zelenka

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