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Overcoming Difficult Trials

Archive for the tag “Christian Service”

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)

Walk As Children Of Light

*Walk As Children of Light

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A Bondservant of Christ Jesus Is Never Complacent

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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)

God Does Not Compare The Flowers In His Garden

 

Flowers Don't Compete:UnknownYou don’t need to be better than anyone else. You just need to be better than you used to be.” —Unknown

“There are different kinds of gifts, but the same Spirit distributes them. There are different kinds of service, but the same Lord. There are different kinds of working, but in all of them and in everyone it is the same God at work”.  1 Corinthians 12:4–6 (NIV)

The refining process—which we must undergo to become what God created us to be—is a continuous one. It involves extreme pressure and, yes, pain. When God turns up the heat to melt gold, dross will rise to the surface. Dross is a collection of impurities. Sin is our impurity.

Hopefully, the refining of our spirit will bring about a forward motion in our walk with Christ. With each new lesson God sends our way, we should grow in our maturity and knowledge of Him. We are not to remain “baby” Christians all of our lives. Rather, we are meant to become mature, able to teach and witness to others.

There is danger when we start to compare our growth to the spiritual growth of others. Just as every child is different in personality and looks, so, too, is each one different in his or her abilities to learn. Growth patterns differ from individual to individual, whether we’re talking about academics or spiritual lessons from our Father.

When we compare our walk to that of another, one of two things may occur. We may become convicted and then inspired to follow that person’s good example, or we may become jealous and fall prey to the lies of the Enemy who jumps at any opportunity to pull down and discourage the children of God.

Just as the physical body has many parts, the body of Christ has many parts, too. Each part is dependent on the other. We need the eyes to see and the mouth to communicate. We need the hands to heal and serve and the feet to travel to far-off lands. All the parts are important. We can’t compare the importance of body parts, because all of the parts are essential and necessary.

Look to others and be encouraged, not condemned. Map your own course of spiritual growth and monitor it to see if you are either growing in your walk or remaining in the same place. You do not want to experience stunted growth. If you see yourself as still requiring milk, like a newborn baby Christian, then take steps to stretch yourself. Allow the trials in your life to bring about your maturity. Then rejoice over the gifts allotted to your fellow brothers and sisters and be thankful for your own personal and unique talents.

A rose is beautiful, but so is an iris. Both are flowers and both are special and unique. However, they bloom in different seasons and have different aromas. They both glorify God, but in different and unparalleled ways.

That is how we are in God’s eyes. We are beautiful and unique flowers in His heavenly flower garden. He adores and treasures each and every one of us.

Here, I provide you with one special Bible verse to meditate on:

“Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so, the body is not made up of one part but of many. Now if the foot should say, “Because I am not a hand, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. And if the ear should say, “Because I am not an eye, I do not belong to the body,” it would not for that reason stop being part of the body. If the whole body were an eye, where would the sense of hearing be? If the whole body were an ear, where would the sense of smell be? But in fact God has placed the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be. If they were all one part, where would the body be? As it is, there are many parts, but one body. The eye cannot say to the hand,         “I don’t need you!” And the head cannot say to the feet, “I don’t need you!” On the contrary, those parts of the body that seem to be weaker are indispensable, and the parts that we think are less honorable, we treat with special honor. And the parts that are unpresentable are treated with special modesty, while our presentable parts need no special treatment. But God has put the body together, giving greater honor to the parts that lacked it, so that there should be no division in the body, but that its parts should have equal concern for each other. If one part suffers, every part suffers with it; if one part is honored, every part rejoices with it. Now you are the body of Christ, and each one of you is a part of it.” (1 Corinthians 12:12–27 NIV)

If God Opens A Door…..

*Door

“I know your works. See, I have set before you an open door, and no one can shut it; for you have a little strength, have kept My word, and have not denied My name.” Revelations 3:8 (NKJV)

“Jesus Christ is the same yesterday, today, and forever.” Hebrews 13:8 

“Meet Your Fears With Faith”  – Max Lucado 

When God opens a door, He asks us to walk through it holding our faith.  The future ahead may be unknown but every believer knows that God is faithful. Time and time again, God proves His promises to be trustworthy, incorruptible, sound, and true. We just have to let go of our fears and trust Him.

We are told in Hebrews 13:8 that God is, “The same yesterday, today, and forever.” This means that He is never going to change.  He is all goodness, righteousness, and love. If He provided for you in the past, He will not only provide for you today but also in your future and then into eternity.  

Can you think of some adjectives that define God? Did you consider peace giver and faithful Father? He will meticulously care for your every need.  He has, will now, and will always do so throughout your existence.  He never changes and will never ask you to do something beyond your equipping. 

So, if God has opened a new door and is asking you to pass through, even though what awaits you is a mystery, why hesitate? Jeremiah 29:11 instructs that His plans for us are not filled with harmful intentions but rather, they are plans filled with His precious love. His plans are to provide us with a hope and a future.  

Is it a fear of the unknown, or the possibility of pain that causes you to drag your heels?  

Pain and affliction are tools used by the Master Sculptor to sculpt His creation into amazing works of art.  He sees us as we will be, and not as we are now. Our transformation occurs while we journey through this world.  Chip by chip He refines and perfects His unique masterpieces, until we are pleasing to His eye and perfect in His sight. Do we aspire to be vessels of honor or dishonor? The temporary discomfort we might suffer is not worth comparing to the glory soon to be revealed in us once we have reached our eternal home. 

Do not let fear cause you to hesitate.  If God has asked you to step through a new door, He has already prepared you for what lies ahead.  You have the gifts and tools needed to accomplish the task.  Even a momentary hesitation, if you are sure of God’s will, is considered rebellion in His sight.  Don’t let a lack of faith keep you from the work God wants to achieve through you.  With His grace, which is always sufficient, you will succeed in your endeavors.  You serve a God who can do the impossible.  Nothing is beyond His reach or ability to execute. 

When next you see an open door before you, remember that your heavenly Father is holding your hand and walking beside you as you pass through.  He will not give you anything beyond HIS ability to accomplish through you, and HIS ability and power is endless. It is by His might, and not your own, that His plan shall be completed.  Any pain you may face will be bearable, for He will give you the supernatural ability and strength to endure the suffering.

CONSIDER THE FOLLOWING WORDS DURING YOUR TIME OF REFLECTION

“You never know which door will lead you towards your dreams, until you have the courage to walk through it.”   ~Unknown

“For a great and effective door has opened to me, and there are many adversaries.”       1 Corinthians 16:9 (NKJV)

“For it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.”             Philippians 2:13 (NKJV)

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”  Jeremiah 29:11 (NIV)

“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.” Romans 8:18

“Open doors are simply green lights designed to move you along in your spiritual journey to your eternal home.” ~Unknown

Are You Wearing The Joy Of The Lord?

Mirror

There are many scriptures that mention joy.  John 15:7-11 reminds us, “If we abide in Him and His Word abides in us, we should ask whatever we wish, and it will be done for us.”  We are then told to abide in His love.  It is important to note that if God’s Word abides in us, we will pray according to His will.  Therefore, anything we request in our prayers must be aligned to the will and purposes of God, if we expect them to be answered. This is a joyful hope and worth some meditation! 

Do you regularly meditate on the wonders of God, His blessings and kindnesses, His faithfulness and provisions?  What a wonderful way to slip into slumber; remembering the faithful acts of love God has demonstrated throughout your day/life! What sweet sleep you will enjoy, and what peaceful dreams!

“My soul is satisfied as with marrow and fatness, and my mouth offers praises with joyful lips. When I remember You on my bed, 
I meditate on You in the night watches, for You have been my help, and in the shadow of Your wings I sing for joy.”  Psalm 63:5-7 (NAS) 

We serve a God of eternal hope who fills us with joy and peace.  Why? So that we overflow with hope…. And serve as His reflection.  We are His representatives, ambassadors of Christ. With hope, and the grace of God, we can do all things. Hope enables us to journey down unknown and dangerous paths with a song of joy in our hearts. Hope has the ability to spur us on to do good works and push us through the darkest of times.  Joy, praise, and unspoken feelings of joy are one way we, His creation, can give Him the glory He deserves. 

Unfortunately, It is easy to loose joy when we are suffering a pain or sorrow.  Should depression or despair be your companions of late, it is most likely your focus has moved to something other than your Savior’s face. Jesus, because of the joy awaiting Him, endured the cross.  He looked beyond His present circumstances of suffering to the eternal glory He would soon partake. 

Can you look beyond your present circumstances and rejoice with a joyful heart, knowing that what you suffer now is not worth comparing to the glory soon to be revealed in you?  Can you maintain joy in your valley and sing of it to your Savior? This would be a beautiful sacrifice of praise and a witness to many. 

Let the joy of the Lord be your strength at all times. CHOOSE to be joyful.  Make a decision to see the positive blessings that are to come, or that are all around you. We have been gifted with an inexpressible joy, thanks to the love and sacrifice of our Savior Jesus Christ. I pray you open His gift with a decision to sing, speak, or even whisper His praise. You will find your joy grows and matures when you praise Him in your valley. 

“There is nothing dreary or doubtful about (the life). It is meant to be continually joyful…We are called to a settled happiness in the Lord whose joy is our strength.” ~Amy Carmichael

“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 12:2 (NKJV)

“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in Him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.” Romans 15:13 (NIV)

“Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to His name.”  Hebrews 13:5 (NLT)

God Rests, Do You?

Rest Image

“I said to myself….

RELAX and REST. God has showered you with blessings.                                               Soul, you’ve been rescued from death.                                                                                 Eye, you’ve been rescued from tears; and you                                                                     Foot, were kept from stumbling.” ~Unknown

God was busy when He created the universe.  For six days He worked on establishing heaven and earth, light and dark, water and dry land, and designing all living things. However, after He finished His work He RESTED.  Many of us have such a hard time resting.  We are busy with our family, career, ministry and so much more.

“And on the seventh day God finished His work that He had done, and He rested on the seventh day from all His work that He had done. So God blessed the seventh day and made it holy, because on it God rested from all His work that He had done in creation.” Genesis 2: 2-3 (ESV)

So when a free moment does come along, we might feel uncomfortable or restless. A guilty feeling may stir inside of us. We might even fret over our short intermission. As they saying goes, “The show must go on,” but there is a time given to audiences to stand up and take a short break before the story/plot continues.

Have you ever needed to give yourself permission to slow down? Rest? Relax?  If you have a list that needs your attention how can you justify a break? How can you possibly excuse a time for fun or just being still? If you are honest… the list never ends, right?

First, God is your role model so always look to Him and follow His example.  He encourages rest, although He also states the importance of working heartily for the Lord (Col.3:23).  He values balanced scales.

“Truly my soul finds rest in God; my salvation comes from Him.” Psalm 62:1 (NIV)

Since He knows your frame, He understands that your body needs sleep…. so take a nap if you need one.  Is your mind rested and at peace? If not, read the Word. Have a quiet time with the Lord.

We were built for relationships, so enjoy the people and animals in your life.  Play a game with your children, take your dog for a walk, or have dinner out with a loved one.  Most of all, be still and know that God cares about You. He values relationships and hopes you reach out to Him as well.

Reading your Bible, having a special prayer time, meditating on the goodness and faithfulness of God are all wonderful ways to refresh your spirit and build intimacy with God.  Ponder all of your blessings and remember the many ways God has rescued you from fears and trouble. Recount all the ways He has kept your feet from stumbling and then…. praise Him!

Feeding upon the Word of God is so important; it should be our daily spiritual bread. It builds us up and enables us to face whatever comes our way. The living Word speaks to us, if we have an ear to listen. It will guide and advise with sound counsel.

The living water quenches our thirst but also waters the work God has lovingly begun within us.  Is it not Wisdom who calls out to us, reminding us to irrigate our spiritual gardens? For then we will surely produce fruit, feed others in need, and give God the glory He so rightly deserves.

Therefore, you do not have to be the definition of perpetual motion.  Psalm 46:10 encourages believers to, “be still and know that I am God.”  When was the last time you intentionally sat still and stopped all of your activities?  When was the last time you cleared your mind of all your worries, agendas, troubles, and fears? 

Resting restores our mental and physical health.  If our personal wells are empty, we cannot hand out refreshing cups of cool water to others in need.  We are better servants of God if we take time to care for ourselves. 

As you take a moment to rest and meditate on God’s love, the enemy may come alongside you and whisper words of condemnation. He will most likely try to convince you that you are lazy and slothful.  He will serve up reprimands full of reproach and guilt in an effort to discourage or distract you. Plug your ears!  Lies!  He is the father of all lies (John 8:44).  Guilt is not of the Lord.  There is a difference between condemnation and conviction.

Yes, we are to serve others and work fervently in winning souls to Christ by sharing the Good News.  We are commanded to serve, encourage, and help others.  However, nowhere in the Bible does it say to work without any quiet times of rest or reflection.  Even Jesus took time out to spend time alone with His Father or go to a wedding.

We are not robots.  Sure, times are dark and there is an urgency to warn others that His return may be closer than we can all possibly imagine.  We are to pray without ceasing but our bodies require moments of stillness and rest.         

I don’t want to dissuade you from the work He has given you to perform.  I am simply reminding you to take time to refresh your spirit and build up your strength.  God is in control.  He holds the reins.  He knows your heart and sees your service.  He wants you to drink from His well so that your personal well is full of sweet cool water, available for those who desperately need a swig or two.

TAKE SOME TIME TO REST IN HIS PRESENCE AND MEDITATE ON THESE SCRIPTURES.

“And He said, “My Presence will go with you, and I will give you rest.”                    Exodus 33:14(NKJV)

“Return to your rest, O my soul, for the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.                         For the Lord has dealt bountifully with you.

For You have delivered my soul from death,
My eyes from tears,
And my feet from falling.” Psalm 116:7-8 (NKJV)

 

 

 

Is Your Life A Living Love Song For God?

Heart of Love

A love song always includes praises for the object of our affection. Would you like to make your life a living love song for God? What would that look like in your eyes? Starting today, how can you make your life a living and growing praise song to your heavenly Father?

A good way to answer this question is to look at Jesus and His disciples. How did Jesus demonstrate His love for us and how did His followers demonstrate their love for Christ? I assure you there were deliberate actions and a concerted effort.

Consider all the gifts and talents God has given you. Every child of God has received a spiritual gift(s) and is supposed to use it/them to edify the body of Christ, which in turn glorifies and pleases God. What are your gifts and how are you using them?

When we step out in faith, believing God has equipped us to help those around us, we are walking through an open door He has provided. This open door is an opportunity to serve, witness, and praise the name of Jesus. Our trust in His provision and our willingness to minister to others, even our decision to put aside our plans for the day in order to follow His purpose, is a means to shower Him with our love and appreciation.

“As each one has received a gift, minister it to one another, as good stewards of the manifold grace of God. If anyone speaks, let him speak as the oracles of God. If anyone ministers, let him do it as with the ability which God supplies, that in all things God may be glorified through Jesus Christ, to whom belong the glory and the dominion forever and ever. Amen.” 1 Peter 4:10-11 (NKJV)

A.W. Tozer wrote, “You can see God from anywhere if your mind is set to love and obey Him.”  

http://www.whatchristianswanttoknow.com/bible-verses-about-love-25-awesome-scripture-quotes/#ixzz2yBHCie00

Your love song to God will be spelled out over your entire lifetime. It will not be one continuous melody. Rather, it will have different movements, like a symphony. There will be pauses. There will even be moments of silence. Different tempos will occur depending on your measure of obedience and submission to His will.

Some movements in your life song will be full of joy and speed, appropriately marked ALLEGRO. Other movements will be very slow. LARGO is a time when you may be required to endure a sorrow or time of suffering, preferably with the dignity and grace God promises to provide. How you carry yourself through a trial can be an incredible opportunity to show God your love for Him. Observers will find themselves amazed and curious when you praise God during your storm, speaking of His unfathomable love, mercy, and grace.

Jesus called us to be the light of the world. If we dedicate our lives to becoming messengers of hope, love, and grace we will get attention. Light demands attention. Light gets noticed, especially in a dark world full of sin and hate.

Goals and ambitions, when aligned with the will of God, will always come to pass. If you find your fulfillment and joy in Christ His passions will become your delight.

“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart.” Psalm 37:4 (NKJV)

Will every breath you exhale be a praise offering that honors His glorious name? Will you dedicate every act of service to Him and for His glory? Can you agree to be an extension of His love from this day forth? If so, your life will be a unique and astonishing love song to the one and only God.

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

“’And you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, with all your mind, and with all your strength.’  This is the first commandment. And the second, like it, is this: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’  There is no other commandment greater than these.” Mark 12:30-31 (NKJV)

Compassion Is Love In Action

Moved w:Compassion

Compassion is love put into action. In Greek “Compassion” is defined as “Inward Affection, Pity or Sympathy, Yearning.” What compassion really means is “Suffering With Another!”  It does not stand still or permit us to ignore problems. It will never turn away when someone is in need.  With sympathetic hearts, we are to put tender kindness into action and work to ease the suffering of others.

Because of our Lord’s mercies we are not consumed.  His mercies are endless and His compassions never fail.  As the sun rises with every new dawn, His compassions and mercies are new every morning.  Faithfully, Jesus is actively moved with pity and sympathy to heal and ease our sufferings.

“Through the LORD’S mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 (NKJV)”

Do you have an ache in your heart when hearing about families affected by tornados, hurricanes, fires and other natural disasters? Are you one who volunteers to sift through the ashes of burnt homes with hopes of finding some object that survived the blaze?  If yes, you are acting out of compassion for those who lost so much, hoping some small familiar object will bring a measure of comfort to them.

Maybe you have volunteered to rebuild homes that were lost in a recent hurricane.  This is an act of mercy and compassion as well. You put your concern into action…. Free of charge! Have you ever volunteered to raise money for a cancer patient or accident victim?  This again is compassion. Acts of love and mercy can be as simple as making a meal for a senior citizen who is lonely and in need of company.

Jesus was frequently moved with compassion before healing others. In Matthew 1:40, we read about a leper who approached Jesus in a humble and imploring manner. While kneeling down to Christ he said, “IF You are willing, You can make me clean.” Jesus was moved with compassion and reached out to him. Immediately the leprosy left the man and he was cleansed.

How then can we grow in our compassion for others?  First, we can lay aside all judgments and walk in their shoes.  We can also attempt to look at matters with the eyes of Christ.  Ask yourself, “How would Jesus react?” With eyes of unconditional love, what assistance are you able to provide?

Many of us, in order to gain a heart of compassion, will have to suffer through personal trials.  Weathering a difficult storm allows us to view things with a Godly perspective. Past personal struggles will propel us into action when we see others suffering heartaches that we know all too well ourselves.

I encourage you to act when the Holy Spirit gives you a heart of compassion.  Don’t quench the Spirit by sitting…. Move! Love in action is full of sensitivity. True compassion is not complacent or lazy.  Some effort and time are required, but the investment you make will be worth any inconvenience you may endure.  Indeed, you will not only bless those you reach out to but yourself as well.

“Through the LORD’S mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” Lamentations 3:22-23 (NKJV)

“Now a leper came to Him, imploring Him, kneeling down to Him and saying to Him, “If You are willing, You can make me clean.” Then Jesus, moved with compassion, stretched out His hand and touched him, and said to him, “I am willing; be cleansed.” As soon as He had spoken, immediately the leprosy left him, and he was cleansed.”  Mark 1:40-42 (NKJV)

“And when Jesus went out He saw a great multitude; and He was moved with compassion for them, and healed their sick.” Matthew 14:14 (NKJV) 

God Always Provides!

UTR Help Come From

Then Moses said to the Lord, “O my Lord, I am not eloquent, neither before nor since You have spoken to Your servant; but I am slow of speech and slow of tongue.”

So the Lord said to him, “Who has made man’s mouth? Or who makes the mute, the deaf, the seeing, or the blind? Have not I, the Lord? Now therefore, go, and I will be with your mouth and teach you what you shall say.””   Exodus 4:10-12 (NKJV) 

“But when they hand you over, do not worry about how or what you are to say; for it will be given you in that hour what you are to say.” Matthew 10:19 (NASB) 

Some of us have been blessed with spiritual gifts that require us to speak.  Maybe we are teachers, or able to interpret spiritual tongues.  Others might be given a word of encouragement and pressed to step out in faith in order to deliver it, often to a stranger. If we are too fearful to speak we quench the Spirit of God and miss a blessing.

Moses is believed to have had a problem with his speech, maybe it was stuttering.  This speech impediment caused him to hesitate when God told him to be His spokesperson.  Moses asked God to send someone else in his place (Ex. 4:13-16).   Instead of choosing another man for this honor, God provided Aaron to help Moses. “So he shall be your spokesman to the people. And he himself shall be as a mouth for you, and you shall be to him as God.”

If Moses had been stronger in his faith, he would have realized that God would never have asked him to do something he was ill equipped to handle. God always gives His children the tools they need to carry out His purpose and plan. Aaron was a crutch Moses really did not need.

If the Holy Sprit has prompted you to speak but you don’t know what to say, you must step out in faith.  “Do not worry about what to say or how to say it.  At that time you will be given what to say, for it will not be you speaking, but the Spirit of your Father speaking through you.” Matthew 10:19-20

Whenever I read Genesis 22, the story of Abraham and Isaac, I breathe a sigh of relief.  This unusual testing of Abraham’s obedient faith may seem cruel to us, but God had good reasons. He always does! Certainly there must have been tears of joy when God called a holt to the human sacrifice.  God provided a ram to take the place of Isaac. This is when Abraham calls His God, Jehovah-Jireh, “The-Lord-Will-Provide.”

God provides in so many ways.  Matthew 6:31 reminds us not to worry about what we eat, drink, or wear.  He knows what we need even before we think to ask for it.  God created our bodies, so He knows we are fragile. Philippians 4:19 says He will supply all of our needs. 

Love is one of our needs.  God has a limitless amount of unconditional love to offer and He longs to bestow it upon us daily.  Humans are often fearful and require strength to persevere and endure hardships.  God promises to provide these as well. 

Whatever you need, God will certainly provide it for you.  Love, healing, strength, courage, abilities beyond measure, and so much more are yours if only you believe. He will loosen a tongue, provide the words, and remove the fear. Don’t let others miss out on the blessing God wants to give them.  You are merely the spokesperson.  He is the one who will teach and encourage.  You have only to yield yourself to His power and provision as Moses did so long ago.

I will give you a mouth and wisdom which all your adversaries will not be able to contradict or resist.”  Luke 21:15 (NKJV)

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