Monday’s Blog: Pursuing Godliness “The Path of Least Resistance”

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

1 Timothy 4:7-8

 

This is the last blog in our series on “Pursuing Godliness.” Today we will close with choosing the narrow path, rather than the path of least resistance. When we choose to follow God and His will, we will face resistance. Revelation 12:17 says that Satan wages war against those who obey God’s commandments and hold to the testimony of Jesus.

I shared in the last blog that I am hosting a powerful study in my home titled: “Believing God” by Beth Moore. We have only just begun the study and have already had much resistance. I could fill up this blog with all that has happened in the last few weeks. I’ve led many Bible studies in the past, but never one as powerful as this one. I’ve never had so many women plan to come to a study and not show up because of all the resistance this study has brought.

Matthew 7:13-14 says: “Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many enter through it. But small is the gate and narrow the road that leads to life, and only a few find it.

When we want to pursue the things of God, Satan and those who are opposed to God will try to stop us. I can understand why many give up and only a few find the life God intended. It’s hard to press on through difficulties to continue pursuing the things of God. But the difficulties we experience on the narrow path are nothing compared to the glory we will see God work in and through us along the way.

Romans 5:3-4 says, “Moreover [let us also be full of joy now!] let us exult and triumph in our troubles and rejoice in our sufferings, knowing that pressure and affliction and hardship produce patient and unswerving endurance. And endurance (fortitude) develops maturity of character (approved faith and tried integrity). And character [of this sort] produces [the habit of] joyful and confident hope of eternal salvation” (AMP).

When I am experiencing a lot of opposition and trials, I have learned that I have two choices. I can give up and let those trials drag me down deeper into sin. Or I can press on and allow God to use those trials to bring me out of sin, and develop and mature His fruit in me.

Paul told Timothy, “You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of… (2 Timothy 3:10-14).

It’s very tempting to take the easier road in life, the road of least resistance. But knowing the easy road is the road that leads to our destruction, and the narrow road is the road that leads to the life Christ died to give us, should motivate us to resist that temptation at all cost. As you see in the verses above, even though Paul faced many persecutions, God delivered him from them all.

1 John 4:4 says, “You, dear children, are from God and have overcome them, because the one who is in you is greater than the one who is in the world.”

We shouldn’t be fearful of opposition. We should face each trial with confidence, knowing God is doing an amazing work through us. Satan can’t win. He can irritate us and throw a bunch of roadblocks in front of us. But when we press on, God will turn every one of those roadblocks into a blessing. We won’t find those special blessings on the broad road of least resistance.

This is what the LORD says: Stand at the crossroads and look. Ask which paths are the old, reliable paths. Ask which way leads to blessings. Live that way, and find a resting place for yourselves. But you said that you wouldn’t live that way.

Jeremiah 6:16, GW

This probably isn’t the greatest example, but it should help illustrate my point. My kids and I belong to a weekly homeschool co-op group where each parent volunteers to teach or assist in teaching classes. My sister-in-law and I volunteered to teach two classes of twenty-six 3 and 4-year-olds. We volunteered because my three-year-old son and her three-year-old twin boys are so attached to us, we can’t leave them with anyone.

Raising my four children has never been easy for me. Every one of them was difficult from the time they were born through toddler-hood. I’ve never had easy babies like many moms I knew. I’ve never been able to leave them in nursery at church without them crying. I can count on my fingers the amount of times I sat through a full church service without having my infant or toddler’s number pop up on the screen to be picked up.

I recently came home from my co-op class and jokingly told my husband I expelled our son from my class. He got into a fight with a kid, and he spit at and hit the teacher (me)! I expressed to my husband, “Can’t anything with our kids be easy!”

The following week, my husband tempted me with the offer to keep our son at home with him for the rest of the year while I taught the class. It would be the easiest way for me, but I knew it wouldn’t be the best way. My son had to learn how to get along with other children, and respect me as his mother and as his teacher. With a prayer and some determination I took him with me the following week.

He played with the other kids, obeyed me and even did all the activities we had planned! I never imagined he would improve so much in one week. I was amazed! If I wouldn’t have tried one more week, I wouldn’t have seen such a wonderful change take place in him. I thought, “How many times are we one step away from our blessings?” If we would just press on through the opposition, instead of giving up and taking the road of least resistance, we would find our breakthroughs and blessings we’ve been waiting for.

So do not throw away your confidence; it will be richly rewarded. You need to persevere so that when you have done the will of God, you will receive what he has promised. For in just a very little while, “He who is coming will come and will not delay. But my righteous one will live by faith. And if he shrinks back, I will not be pleased with him.” But we are not of those who shrink back and are destroyed, but of those who believe and are saved.

Hebrews 10:35-39

 

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for giving us victory over all those who are opposed to You. Help us not back down in fear of opposition. Help us to press on and take hold of the life Jesus died to give us. We rejoice in our trials, knowing You are maturing us in Christ, and Your glory will be revealed in and through us.

In Jesus name, Amen!

Have a blessed week walking on God’s road!

 

If you missed any blogs in this series, follow these links:

Pursuing Godliness

Renewing Our Minds

Retaining The Word In Our Hearts

Faith Leads To Godliness


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Monday’s Blog: Pursuing Godliness “Faith Leads to Godliness”

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

1 Timothy 4:7-8

This is the fourth message in our series on “Pursuing Godliness.” Today, I want to focus on faith, believing God to help us live godly lives.

2 Peter 1:3 says, “His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness.

God’s divine power, the same power that raised Jesus from the dead, has given (meaning we already have it) us everything we need to live godly lives through our knowledge of Him (faith in Him).

Romans 8:11 says, “And if the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead is living in you, he who raised Christ from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit, who lives in you.”

Faith is the doorway to God’s promises. If God promises He will give us everything we need to live godly lives here on earth, we must believe it to receive it.

I am currently hosting a powerful Bible study in my home titled: “Believing God” by Beth Moore. The study focuses on Romans chapter four, which explains how we are justified by faith, not by works. In the course of the study we will have read the chapter at least twenty times. The purpose is to meditate on it until it lives in us.

Romans 4:2-8, 23-25 explain:

“If, in fact, Abraham was justified by works, he had something to boast about—but not before God. What does the Scripture say? ‘Abraham believed God, and it was credited to him as righteousness.’

Now when a man works, his wages are not credited to him as a gift, but as an obligation. However, to the man who does not work but trusts God who justifies the wicked, his faith is credited as righteousness. David says the same thing when he speaks of the blessedness of the man to whom God credits righteousness apart from works:

Blessed are they whose transgressions are forgiven, whose sins are covered. Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord will never count against him.’

The words ‘it was credited to him’ were written not for him alone, but also for us, to whom God will credit righteousnessfor us who believe in him who raised Jesus our Lord from the dead. He was delivered over to death for our sins and was raised to life for our justification.”

After turning my heart to Christ twelve years ago, I tried for many years to live a godly life. When I read the Bible I would get overwhelmed because I failed every command. I would write notes with verses and put them all over my house to help me. I would set reminders on my phone with the verses I struggled with most. I would surround myself with God’s Word through Bible studies, church, books, and teachings on the radio and television. But no matter what I did, I only seemed to act worse. I was bewildered that those I knew who rarely opened their Bibles had more godly characteristics than I had. I thought to myself, “Something isn’t right. I must be doing something wrong.”

After years of frustration, I had an emotional breakdown while sitting in my church parking lot waiting to pick my daughter up from summer camp. I was tired of trying to be godly, and tired of failing miserably. I cried out to God telling Him I had enough. I couldn’t do it anymore. God spoke to me that moment through a minister on the radio. It was a message I had heard many times before, but it hadn’t registered in my heart until that moment. The message was about believing God to change me. A message so simple, yet it took me so long to receive it. Once I surrendered and stopped trying to obey His Word on my own, my heart finally opened up to receive God’s help.

Once I learned God has given us everything we need to walk in godliness, by the fruit of His Spirit, a burden was lifted from me. I was then able to joyfully receive God’s Word by faith, instead of feeling overwhelmed thinking His Word was a hammer pounding me down with every command. Once I started walking in faith, believing I would walk in godliness by His Spirit, my actions began to change.

I would like to learn just one thing from you: Did you receive the Spirit by observing the law, or by believing what you heard? Are you so foolish? After beginning with the Spirit, are you now trying to attain your goal by human effort? Have you suffered so much for nothing—if it really was for nothing? Does God give you his Spirit and work miracles among you because you observe the law, or because you believe what you heard?

Galatians 3:2-5

It’s a wonderful feeling knowing we have everything we need to live a life of godliness. We don’t have to worry about how to develop godliness. We already have it in our spirits. It just needs to manifest in us.

Awhile back, I needed healing in an area. I had been dealing with this hurt for a long time. I cried out to Jesus one evening with all my heart. I told Him I had enough of that pain and I needed His healing. I cried, “If You were here on earth today, You’d touch me and I would be healed instantly! I know You haven’t changed! I know You are still the same today! You are here! Touch me and I will be healed!!”

In the middle of the night, I awoke from my sleep and saw that my husband was awake. I hadn’t told him I was still hurting in this area. He didn’t know what I had prayed. Before we went back to sleep, my husband said, “Oh, by the way, I don’t know what’s going on, but God told me to tell you that you are healed. Whatever you needed healing for, you’ve got it!”

I was elated! Knowing that God told me I was healed increased my faith to believe Him for that healing. From that moment on, I had no doubt that I was healed. I didn’t see my full healing manifest right away, but whenever the problem arose I just smiled and reminded myself that I was already healed. God’s power, working through faith, weakened the power of that stronghold, and then my healing began to manifest in me.

I believed God because He spoke to me. We can also believe God because He spoke to us in His Word. If God tells us something in His Word, we can believe it will happen just as He promised.

Blessed be the LORD, that hath given rest unto his people Israel, according to all that he promised: there hath not failed one word of all his good promise, which he promised by the hand of Moses his servant. The LORD our God be with us, as he was with our fathers: let him not leave us, nor forsake us

1 Kings 8:56-57

I want to encourage you to believe God to help you walk in godliness. He will never leave you. He will never give up on you. He will never stop working in you. He will transform you into a vessel for His glory. Don’t ever give up believing Him. He will do just as He has promised!

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better. I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.

That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come. And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way.

Ephesians 1:17-23

 

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for cleansing us from all our sins, and giving us everything we need for life and godliness through our faith in You. Help us to live by faith and walk in step with Your Holy Spirit. We surrender our lives to You. Transform our lowly bodies, and make us into vessels for Your glory!

In Jesus’ precious name, Amen!

Have a blessed week believing God!

*Come back next Monday for more in this series. You can subscribe below to receive an email reminder of new posts. You can also use the share tabs below to help spread the word of this series to bless others.

 


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Monday’s Blog: Pursuing Godliness “Retaining the Word in Our Hearts”

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

1 Timothy 4:7-8

This is the third message in our series on “Pursuing Godliness.” Follow this link if you missed the last two messages in this series.

Last week, I talked about renewing our minds with the Word of God. Today, I want to focus on keeping His Word in our hearts.

Proverbs 4:23 says to: Guard your heart above all else, for it determines the course of your life” (NLT).

Our hearts will either lead us to sin or lead us to godliness. Luke 12:34 says, For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. In order to follow Jesus’ example and live godly lives, our hearts must be consecrated to God. He must be the only treasure we seek after in life.

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear:  Having a good conscience; that, whereas they speak evil of you, as of evildoers, they may be ashamed that falsely accuse your good conversation in Christ.

1 Peter 3:15-16, KJV

I can always tell when God is first in my heart when I want to follow His commands. I want to do what is right. I was asked by a Christian once why I wouldn’t do something that seemed minor to him. I told him because I knew God wouldn’t want me to. He replied, “You are not going to go to hell if you do it.” I was saddened by his response. I wanted to obey God, not because I felt forced too, but because I sincerely loved Him.

The reason many Christians are not living godly lives is because God is not first in their hearts. In last week’s message, I shared a study I once did on renovating my mind. I kept a journal during the fifty days it took me to complete the study. On the first day, while examining my thoughts, I wrote in my journal:

“I didn’t realize how often I think about picking up my phone and checking my messages when I’m studying with God. Is He really first in my mind and heart?”

There are so many things vying for our hearts today. During my summer break, on three separate occasions God showed me my heart was drawn away and left unguarded. Once was when my family and I went on a long vacation with my parents, my siblings and their families. About halfway through our vacation, I realized I hadn’t opened my Bible since I left home. I was so distracted by family and all the things to do on vacation that I almost forgot about God.

The second time was during the Olympics. To keep up with all the events on our DVR, my husband and I spent hours watching them everyday. I stopped when I realized how much time I had wasted, and how easily worldly entertainment can keep us from pursuing God and doing His will.

The third time was when I was remodeling my house. I started with the intention of only transferring my kids’ rooms around. But then I decided I needed an office room to do my writing in. When I saw how nicely the freshly painted walls and moldings looked after remodeling those rooms, I decided the rest of the house needed to be painted and remodeled. Everyone room in my house is a different color and most rooms have two colors, not including the ceilings and moldings. This project took most the summer to complete, and left me with very little time to spend with God and to do His will.

In Luke 8, Jesus talked about the parable of the sower and the seed, with the seed being the Word of God. In verses 12-15, He explained the different ways the Word planted in us can be choked and prevented from producing fruit in our lives:

  • V12: “Those along the path are the ones who hear, and then the devil comes and takes away the word from their hearts, so that they may not believe and be saved.” 

When we are busy pursuing the things of the world instead of God, we leave the door open for Satan to snatch away the Word sown in us.

  • V13: “Those on the rock are the ones who receive the word with joy when they hear it, but they have no root. They believe for a while, but in the time of testing they fall away.” 

To retain the Word in us, we must be rooted in Jesus. Jesus said, “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing” (John 15:15). We stay rooted in Jesus by communicating with Him, studying His Word and seeking His will daily.

  • V14: “The seed that fell among thorns stands for those who hear, but as they go on their way they are choked by life’s worries, riches and pleasures, and they do not mature.”

As with my summer examples, we can’t push God aside while we do our own thing. When we choose our own path, the worries, desires and pleasures of this world will choke the Word in our hearts and prevent it from developing fruit in us. 1 John 2:15-16 says, “Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever” (KJV).

  •  V15: “But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.”

When we continuously renew our minds in God’s Word, and keep Him first place in our hearts, we will reap a harvest of spiritual fruit in our lives.

in [exercising] knowledge [develop] self-control, and in [exercising] self-control [develop] steadfastness (patience, endurance), and in [exercising] steadfastness [develop] godliness (piety)…For as these qualities are yours and increasingly abound in you, they will keep [you] from being idle or unfruitful unto the [full personal] knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed One).

1 Peter 1:6-8, AMP

 

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for Your love for us. Help us to always put You first and continually seek You with all our hearts, souls, minds and strength. Let us know when our hearts are unguarded. Help us to lay down our will and stop pursuing the things of this world over You. We praise You that You hear this prayer.

In Jesus’ precious name, Amen!

 

*Come back next Monday for more in this series. You can subscribe below to receive an email reminder of new posts. You can also use the share tabs below to help spread the word of this series to bless others.

Have a blessed week seeking the Lord with all your heart!

 

*All scripture quotations, unless otherwise indicated, are taken from the NIV.


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Monday’s Blog: Pursuing Godliness “Renewing Our Minds”

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

1 Timothy 4:7-8

I am continuing our series on pursuing godliness. Last week, I talk about the importance of living godly lives as examples to those we minister to. The Apostle Paul exhorted, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).

So how do we follow Christ’s example? How do we train ourselves to be godly?

The answer is in Romans 12:1-2:

Therefore, I urge you, brothers, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as living sacrifices, holy and pleasing to God—this is your spiritual act of worship. Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.

We are transformed only by the renewing of our minds. The Greek word for renewal in the above verse means “renovation.” When you renovate something, you restore it to a better state. The Bible says if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old is gone and the new has come (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Ephesians 4:22-24 instructs us, “You were taught, with regard to your former way of life, to put off your old self, which is being corrupted by its deceitful desires; to be made new in the attitude of your minds; and to put on the new self, created to be like God in true righteousness and holiness.”

The only way to put off our old self (ungodliness) and put on our new self (godliness) is to renew our minds. During the summer, God led me to reorganize my house to make it easier to manage with my family and ministry. While going through my house, I was amazed how many notes with teachings and Scriptures I wrote down through years. I had stacks of notebooks, Bible study workbooks, and piles of odd items such as napkin pieces with Scriptures written on them. When I first started walking with God I was desperate for change. I was hungry for His holiness. I pursued godliness by taking every opportunity I had to feed on and meditate on His Word.

Through the years, God’s done an amazing transformation in my life, and sometimes I take it for granted. Looking through the piles of Scriptures reminded me I can never stop pursuing godliness. If I don’t diligently stay connected to God and seek His Word, I will easily fall back into my old pattern of behavior.

So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall!

1 Corinthians 10:12

I did a study once on renovating my mind, using Nehemiah 1-6 about rebuilding the walls of Jerusalem. My intention was to strip off my old carnal mind and replace it with the mind of Christ (1 Corinthians 2:16).

Just as Nehemiah inspected Jerusalem’s walls (Nehemiah 2:11-13), I began the study with inspecting my thoughts. I identified and made a list of every carnal thought I had. I was astonished how many negative thoughts I had even though I was already following Christ for many years. In my journal for the study I wrote: “My mind is like that broken down wall (Nehemiah 2:13). It lies in ruins (Nehemiah 2:17).”

After identifying the carnal thoughts, I got to work tearing them down and rebuilding my mind with God’s Word (Nehemiah 2:18). Each day, I focused on a different negative thought from my list. I wrote down every verse I found pertaining to that thought, and prayed and meditated on them.

Do not let this Book of the Law depart from your mouth; Meditate on it day and night, so that you may be careful to do everything written in it.

Joshua 1:8

The tearing down and rebuilding wasn’t easy. I did the study for about fifty days, close to the amount it took them to rebuild Jerusalem’s walls (Nehemiah 6:15). It took me fourteen days to go through my list. Then, I had to re-examine my thoughts to see where I still needed help. After the first re-examination, the list was about a third of what it was when I started the renovation. The last few carnal thoughts were strongholds, and they took longer to tear down.

I gathered some of the notes I wrote in my journal during those fifty days. It provides insight into some of the ups and downs we can experience as we pursue to renew our minds in God’s Word.

Rebuilding the Walls of My Mind Journal

Day 2: I have been having a lot of bad dreams, revealing the strongholds I have in my mind. Last night, I dreamt an evil woman was chasing me while I was trying to protect a child. I got tired of running and turned around and commanded her to stop in the name of Jesus. She stopped instantly and changed as the demon left her. A great reminder to stop running from the devil. Make him flee.

Day 3: I’m being attacked big time. I’m sick. I’ve had bad dreams and I’m having negative thoughts like crazy.

Day 4: The enemy is angry and greatly incensed that I am renovating my mind (Nehemiah 4:1-7).

When Sanballat heard that we were rebuilding the wall, he became angry and was greatly incensed. He ridiculed the Jews …What are those feeble Jews doing? Will they restore their wall? Will they offer sacrifices? Will they finish in a day? Can they bring the stones back to life from those heaps of rubble—burned as they are?’” (v. 1-2)

Day 7: I acted so badly yesterday. I am ashamed. I was rude to the lady at our new church. This isn’t me. I can’t believe all the junk in me. Help me Lord! Cleanse my mind and rebuild it with pure thoughts so my actions will follow.

“The work is extensive and spread out, and we are widely separated from each other along the wall. Wherever you hear the sound of the trumpet, join us there. Our God will fight for us” (Nehemiah 4:19-20)!

Day 9: Things are looking brighter today. I feel my joy returning and my outlook expanding.

Day 14: I feel my mind getting better. The power of the strongholds seems to be weakening and it’s not taking as much effort on my part. God is healing my mind.  

“When word came to …  our enemies that I had rebuilt the wall and not a gap was left in it…. They were all trying to frighten us, thinking, ‘Their hands will get too weak for the work, and it will not be completed.’ [But I prayed,] ‘Now strengthen my hands’” (Nehemiah 6:1-9).

Day 17: I don’t want to give up. God, renew my strength. Change my thinking. Renew my mind.

Day 24: I need to check and pay attention to every thought. I feel like I’m falling backward now.

“Watch out that you do not lose what you have worked for, but that you may be rewarded fully” (2 John 1:8).

Day 25: The devil is fighting and attacking me greatly because he doesn’t want me to renew my mind and tear down the stronghold’s he’s worked so hard to build.

Day 27: I feel great today. God’s grace is tearing down my strongholds. God’s showing me the lies I believed.

Day 30: Just as with a house renovation, once it is finished, I can’t leave it alone or it will return to its old state. I need to keep it up. Care for it. Catch the small repairs so they don’t turn into large projects.

Day 34: I’ve been fasting from junk food for over 30 days. Because I fasted so long from it, I don’t desire it anymore. If I fast from carnal thoughts, I will no longer desire them. I would be foolish to return to the junk I no longer desire.

Of them the proverbs are true: ‘A dog returns to its vomit,’ and, ‘A sow that is washed goes back to her wallowing in the mud’” (2 Peter 2:22).

Day 39: I have a fire in my spirit. My mind is being rebuilt with Jesus and the Word of God as my foundation!

 Let the word [spoken by] Christ (the Messiah) have its home [in your hearts and minds] and dwell in you in [all its] richness, as you teach and admonish and train one another in all insight and intelligence and wisdom [in spiritual things, and as you sing] psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, making melody to God with [His] grace in your hearts (Colossians 3:16, AMP).

Day 40: Lord, use me as an instrument to bring revival to your church and to carry your name before the world (Acts 9:15).

 Day 47: God is doing an amazing work in me. I feel alive and energized and full of the Holy Spirit.

“Nehemiah said, ‘Go and enjoy choice food and sweet drinks, and send some to those who have nothing prepared. This day is sacred to our Lord. Do not grieve, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’

Then all the people went away to eat and drink, to send portions of food and to celebrate with great joy, because they now understood the words that had been made known to them” (Nehemiah 8:10, 12).

 

As you were reading the journal entries, did you notice a pattern? The first part (majority) was spent putting off my old self. Once those carnal thoughts were brought to light I was then able to put on my new self: God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus, ready to do the good works God prepared in advance for me to do (Ephesians 2:10). As God helps us put off our old worldly mindset, He can rebuild our minds and fill them with spiritual things.

We have not received the spirit of the world but the Spirit who is from God, that we may understand what God has freely given us. This is what we speak, not in words taught us by human wisdom but in words taught by the Spirit, expressing spiritual truths in spiritual words.

The man without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God, for they are foolishness to him, and he cannot understand them, because they are spiritually discerned. The spiritual man makes judgments about all things, but he himself is not subject to any man’s judgment:

“For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?”

But we have the mind of Christ.

1 Corinthians 2:12-16

 

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for washing away our sins by the death and resurrection of our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. We are new creation! The old is gone! Help us to take off our old self and put on our new self. Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth” (John 17:17). Help us to diligently seek Your Word and continually renew our minds by the truths we learn from the Bible every day.

In Jesus’ precious name, Amen!

 

*Come back next Monday as the series continues. You can subscribe below to receive email reminders of new posts. You can also use the share tabs below to help spread the word of this series to bless others. 

Have a blessed week seeking the Lord and renewing your mind in His Word!

 

Proverbs & Wisdom
Ashley Ormon from Proverbs & Wisdom wrote a wonderful article on renewing our minds. Follow this link to read her post “Transforming into Your Purpose.”

 

 

Steve Sawyer is doing a series titled “Brokenness” on Tuesdays. Steve’s series goes along with my series on pursuing godliness. Follow this link to his blog.

 

 

 

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Monday’s Blog: Pursuing Godliness

I am starting a new series today titled “Pursuing Godliness.” I just returned from a four month break. I am amazed how much God taught me during that short period of time. I expected to spend most of the time working on my next book. But God had greater plans. The main thing God had me focus on this summer was godliness.

Paul instructed Timothy to:

Have nothing to do with godless myths and old wives’ tales; rather, train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come.

This is a trustworthy saying that deserves full acceptance (and for this we labor and strive), that we have put our hope in the living God, who is the Savior of all men, and especially of those who believe.

Command and teach these things. Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in life, in love, in faith and in purity.

1 Timothy 4:7-12

I took a cross-fit class last spring. It was once a week for six weeks. But in order to keep up with the level of intensity of the class, I had to also workout at home several days a week. My reason for taking the class was probably different than others in the class. I took it to be pushed beyond my limit to strengthen me spiritually, not physically.

If you haven’t taken a cross-fit class, it is best described as a boot camp workout. Our instructors told us they specifically design the workouts to torture us. At the first class, my friend who introduced me to cross-fit said, “See that guy over there? He threw up four times his first day!”

At the end of my first class, I text my husband to tell him I didn’t think I could drive home. I could barely lift my foot from the gas to the break. It was physically the hardest six weeks of my life. After the six weeks, my friend asked me if I was going to continue taking cross-fit, but I said I already received what I set out to obtain: motivation. Seeing the strong commitment and devotion from these men and women for something that is only temporary, strengthened me in my spirit to make that same devotion to pursuing godliness.

But the day of the Lord will come like a thief. The heavens will disappear with a roar; the elements will be destroyed by fire, and the earth and everything in it will be laid bare. Since everything will be destroyed in this way, what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming.

2 Peter 3:10-12

Sadly, we don’t see godliness being a predominant focus in the body of Christ today. It seems that being in style and hip are the main focus. I received a flyer the other day from a new church. They advertised that their music rocked. Their seats were comfortable, and they wore flip-flops to their service.

I went to a Christian conference last month. It was more entertaining than spirit filled. They had dance music, comedic skits and an average message in between. When the conference ended, I left with the desire to dance more than the desire to run home and read my Bible.

I don’t understand why so many ministers and churches feel they have to entertain people to draw them in. Jesus didn’t act like the world to reach them. He was so filled with the Spirit that people were drawn to Him. The power of the Holy Spirit in Him didn’t entertain people. It transformed their lives!

Jesus went throughout Galilee, teaching in their synagogues, preaching the good news of the kingdom, and healing every disease and sickness among the people. News about him spread all over Syria, and people brought to him all who were ill with various diseases, those suffering severe pain, the demon-possessed, those having seizures, and the paralyzed, and he healed them. Large crowds from Galilee, the Decapolis, Jerusalem, Judea and the region across the Jordan followed him.

Matthew 4:23-25

If we follow Jesus’ example, the Spirit of God will be so powerful in us that it will draw people to us, eager to find out what we have. We won’t have to entice them to come into church. They will be running to church!

Jesus said:

“Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit? A student is not above his teacher, but everyone who is fully trained will be like his teacher.

“Why do you look at the speck of sawdust in your brother’s eye and pay no attention to the plank in your own eye? How can you say to your brother, ‘Brother, let me take the speck out of your eye,’ when you yourself fail to see the plank in your own eye? You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.

Luke 6:39-42

The church is trying to reach the world to “clean them up” when they haven’t even cleaned themselves up. I remember a famous preacher coming to town once, preaching about not giving up on the church and giving them another chance. His message was about not looking at the church leaders who are unholy, but instead looking at God who is Holy.

His message wasn’t completely wrong. We are to look to God, but the Bible also shows us that church leaders are to live godly lives as examples to those they minister to (Read 1 Timothy 3:1-12).

In Acts 6, the twelve disciples gathered all the other disciples together and said to choose seven men from among them who are known to be full of the Spirit and wisdom, just to distribute food to the poor. It isn’t just the preachers and teachers that are to be godly examples. We are all called to be.

The Apostle Paul exhorted, “Follow my example, as I follow the example of Christ” (1 Corinthians 11:1).

How many of us today would have the confidence and courage to say to others, “Follow my example because I am following Christ’s example!”

In this series, we will focus on learning how to follow Christ’s example by pursuing godliness. I pray this series will bless and encourage all of us to seek the Lord with all our hearts.

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for Your love for us. Lead us in this series and help us on our pursuit of godliness. Teach us through Your word and help us follow Christ’s example by living the life You created us to live.

In Jesus’ precious name, Amen!

 

*Come back next Monday as the series continues. You can subscribe below to receive email reminders of new posts. You can also use the share tabs below to help spread the word of this series to bless others. 

Have a blessed week seeking the Lord!

 

Steve Sawyer is starting a series on his blog tomorrow titled “Brokenness.” Steve’s series goes along with my series on pursuing godliness. He talks about realizing how wretched our sin is and how true brokenness is the only way for Jesus to get rid of it, not forgive it, because He did that anyway, but get rid of it. Follow this link to his blog.

 

*Do you want to pursue godliness in your marriage and raising your family? I recently revised and republished “You Can Have a Happy Family.” The ebook version is FREE TODAY ONLY at Amazon. Follow the link below.


 

“The LORD will perfect that which concerns me: your mercy, O LORD, endures forever: forsake not the works of your own hands.”

Psalm 138:8, AKJV


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