Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “1 Corinthians 9”

We continue our study of Paul’s letters this week with 1 Corinthians 9. In the last chapter, Paul talked about serving those who are weaker in faith by avoiding anything that would hinder them and cause them to stumble and fall into sin.  I shared Philippians 2:5-11 last week, and how we are instructed to have the same mindset as Jesus: “Who, being in very nature God, did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage; rather, he made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness.”

Paul continues chapter 9 admonishing the Corinthians to follow his example, as He followed Christ’s example, of serving one another in love.

Am I not free? Am I not an apostle? Have I not seen Jesus our Lord? Are you not my work in the Lord? If to others I am not an apostle, at least I am to you; for you are the seal of my apostleship in the Lord.

v. 1-2 (NASB)

Just as Paul experienced, people may criticize and question whether we are called and sent out by God, but the proof will be in the fruit God produces through our labor. Jesus said, “Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves. By their fruit you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles? Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Thus, by their fruit you will recognize them” (Matthew 7:15-20, NIV).

The Corinthians’ salvation was the fruit God produced through Paul’s labor. Their salvation was proof that he was sent to them by God.

Paul proves the sincerity of his service to the Lord as he explains how he denied himself of his personal rights in order to reach people and build them up.

My defense to those who examine me is this: Do we not have a right to eat and drink? Do we not have a right to take along a believing wife, even as the rest of the apostles and the brothers of the Lord and Cephas? Or do only Barnabas and I not have a right to refrain from working? Who at any time serves as a soldier at his own expense? Who plants a vineyard and does not eat the fruit of it? Or who tends a flock and does not use the milk of the flock?

I am not speaking these things according to human judgment, am I? Or does not the Law also say these things? For it is written in the Law of Moses, “YOU SHALL NOT MUZZLE THE OX WHILE HE IS THRESHING.” God is not concerned about oxen, is He? Or is He speaking altogether for our sake? Yes, for our sake it was written, because the plowman ought to plow in hope, and the thresher to thresh in hope of sharing the crops. If we sowed spiritual things in you, is it too much if we reap material things from you? If others share the right over you, do we not more? Nevertheless, we did not use this right, but we endure all things so that we will cause no hindrance to the gospel of Christ. Do you not know that those who perform sacred services eat the food of the temple, and those who attend regularly to the altar have their share from the altar? So also the Lord directed those who proclaim the gospel to get their living from the gospel.

But I have used none of these things. And I am not writing these things so that it will be done so in my case; for it would be better for me to die than have any man make my boast an empty one. For if I preach the gospel, I have nothing to boast of, for I am under compulsion; for woe is me if I do not preach the gospel. For if I do this voluntarily, I have a reward; but if against my will, I have a stewardship entrusted to me. What then is my reward? That, when I preach the gospel, I may offer the gospel without charge, so as not to make full use of my right in the gospel.

For though I am free from all men, I have made myself a slave to all, so that I may win more. To the Jews I became as a Jew, so that I might win Jews; to those who are under the Law, as under the Law though not being myself under the Law, so that I might win those who are under the Law; to those who are without law, as without law, though not being without the law of God but under the law of Christ, so that I might win those who are without law. To the weak I became weak, that I might win the weak; I have become all things to all men, so that I may by all means save some. I do all things for the sake of the gospel, so that I may become a fellow partaker of it.

v. 3-23 (NASB)

I like how the Amplified Bible translates verses 16-19 above:

For if I [merely] preach the Gospel, that gives me no reason to boast, for I feel compelled of necessity to do it. Woe is me if I do not preach the glad tidings (the Gospel)!

For if I do this work of my own free will, then I have my pay (my reward); but if it is not of my own will, but is done reluctantly and under compulsion, I am [still] entrusted with a [sacred] trusteeship and commission.

 What then is the [actual] reward that I get? Just this: that in my preaching the good news (the Gospel), I may offer it [absolutely] free of expense [to anybody], not taking advantage of my rights and privileges [as a preacher] of the Gospel.

For although I am free in every way from anyone’s control, I have made myself a bond servant to everyone, so that I might gain the more [for Christ].

Paul could boast, not in his power, but in the power of Christ that compelled him to preach the gospel. He was not just going through the motions. He was not under compulsion preaching because he was told that’s what he should do. He was filled with God’s Holy Spirit. That filling compelled him and gave him an immense desire to reach others. Proof that he was not under compulsion or reluctant to preach was the fact that he was willing to give up his personal interests and rights in order to reach more people. Remember back to Romans 9, where he said he was even willing to give up his salvation to reach his own race:I speak the truth in Christ—I am not lying, my conscience confirms it through the Holy Spirit— I have great sorrow and unceasing anguish in my heart. For I could wish that I myself were cursed and cut off from Christ for the sake of my people, those of my own race, the people of Israel.”

The desire and love Paul had could only come from knowing Christ and being filled with His love, as Paul explains in Philippians 3:7-14 (NIV):

But whatever were gains to me I now consider loss for the sake of Christ. What is more, I consider everything a loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord, for whose sake I have lost all things. I consider them garbage, that I may gain Christ and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ—the righteousness that comes from God on the basis of faith. I want to know Christ—yes, to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death, and so, somehow, attaining to the resurrection from the dead.

Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

This is a humbling reminder that our service for the Lord should come from our relationship with Christ, not the other way around. We don’t serve Him so we can draw closer to Him. We draw closer to Him so He can fill us with His love, power, and desire to serve Him.

Paul closes the chapter exhorting the Corinthians, and us, to press on toward the goal to win the imperishable prize, worth more than anything in this world, the prize of knowing Christ and being filled with His love.

Do you not know that those who run in a race all run, but only one receives the prize? Run in such a way that you may win. Everyone who competes in the games exercises self-control in all things. They then do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. Therefore I run in such a way, as not without aim; I box in such a way, as not beating the air; but I discipline my body and make it my slave, so that, after I have preached to others, I myself will not be disqualified.

v. 24-27 (NASB)

 

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for teaching us through Paul’s example the importance of a relationship with You through Christ. Fill us with Your Holy Spirit and give us the desire, power, and love to willingly and joyfully serve You in reaching others. When we are losing strength and just going through the motions, draw us away with You and refill us with Your love. Help us to throw off anything that hinders us from willingly serving You. Continually keep our hearts full of You.
In Jesus’ name, we pray. Amen!

Therefore, since we are surrounded by such a great cloud of witnesses, let us throw off everything that hinders and the sin that so easily entangles. And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus, the pioneer and perfecter of faith. For the joy set before him he endured the cross, scorning its shame, and sat down at the right hand of the throne of God. Consider him who endured such opposition from sinners, so that you will not grow weary and lose heart.

Hebrews 12:1-3 (NIV)

*This series will continue next week as we study 1 Corinthians 10. Have a blessed week spending time with the Lord and being filled with His love!

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Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “Romans 12”

We continue our study of Paul’s letters this week with Romans 12. In the first 11 chapters of Romans, Paul talked about salvation and being reconciled to God through faith in Christ, not by works of the law. In Romans 12, Paul instructs all who put their faith in Christ to live a life surrendered to Christ.

Paul begins exhorting us to:

“Therefore I urge you, brethren, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies a living and holy sacrifice, acceptable to God, which is your spiritual service of worship.”

v. 1 (NASB)

We have been bought at a price. We are not our own. We are God’s. We worship and honor Him by committing all that we have to Him.

Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies.

1 Corinthians 6:19-20 (NIV)

For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord’s freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ’s slave. You were bought with a price; do not become slaves of men.

1 Corinthians 7:22-23 (NASB)

Paul continues instructing us to:

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, so that you may prove what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect.”

v. 2 (NASB)

I often pray and ask God to show me His will for me. I always think that I have to be doing something that has an eternal impact on someone else’s life in order to be doing His will.  But God repeatedly reminds me that His will is to transform me into His holiness. I often forget that He has to work in me in order to work through me.

As we conform to God’s will, instead of the world’s, He can work through us to minister to others. When we use the gifts God’s given us to minister to others, Paul explains that we should not think more highly of ourselves than we ought to think. Our gifts differ from one another. But all gifts are equally important because they have been given to us by God to accomplish His purposes.

For through the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think more highly of himself than he ought to think; but to think so as to have sound judgment, as God has allotted to each a measure of faith. For just as we have many members in one body and all the members do not have the same function, so we, who are many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another. Since we have gifts that differ according to the grace given to us, each of us is to exercise them accordingly: if prophecy, according to the proportion of his faith; if service, in his serving; or he who teaches, in his teaching; or he who exhorts, in his exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness.

v. 3-8 (NASB)

In the rest of the chapter, verses 9-21, Paul instructs us how to faithfully serve God. I found it helpful to break down these instructions and study them one verse at a time.

Paul instructs us:

  • Let love be without hypocrisy. Abhor what is evil; cling to what is good. v. 9

First Timothy 1:5 says that our purpose is to love. And love (God’s love) springs from a pure heart, a clear conscience and sincere (non-hypocritical) faith. Our actions show our faith. If our faith is in God, we will hate evil and turn from it, and we will love Christ and cling to what is good. If we still love and cling to the things of the world, we are not fully trusting and putting our faith in Christ.

  • Be devoted to one another in brotherly love; give preference to one another in honor; v.10

We should show special affection and honor to our brothers and sisters in Christ because they have been adopted into the same family of God as we have been.

  • not lagging behind in diligence, fervent in spirit, serving the Lord; v.11

The original Greek word translated here as “serving” is douleuó, which means: “slave” to the Lord. We must not look at the word “slave” in the Bible as we know it today. The world dictionary defines slave as a person who is the legal property of another and is forced to obey them.” God’s definition is not the same. God did not purchase us back to force us to obey Him. He rescued us because He loves us. Even though we are His, He hasn’t taken away our free will. We still have a choice to serve Him. My husband prayed recently, “God, take my free will. I just want Your will.” God’s great love for us makes us willingly surrender all that we have to Him. Knowledge of His love keeps that fire burning in our spirit and helps us diligently serve Him. 

  • rejoicing in hope, persevering in tribulation, devoted to prayer, v. 12

Nehemiah said, “Do not be grieved, for the joy of the LORD is your strength” (Nehemiah 8:10). Staying connected to God, looking to Him with great expectation, knowing that He causes all things to work together for our good, gives us joy and strength to persevere in hardships.

  • contributing to the needs of the saints, practicing hospitality. v. 13

I am reminded of 2 Corinthians 8, where the Macedonian churches gave generously to the needs of the Lord’s people. In the midst of a very severe trial, their overflowing joy and their extreme poverty welled up in rich generosity. For I testify that they gave as much as they were able, and even beyond their ability. Entirely on their own, they urgently pleaded with us for the privilege of sharing in this service to the Lord’s people. And they exceeded our expectations: They gave themselves first of all to the Lord, and then by the will of God also to us.” Notice that they gave themselves FIRST to the Lord, and then God moved in them to give themselves to Paul and his fellow laborers.

  • Bless those who persecute you; bless and do not curse. v.14

“Bless” here means to speak well of. The Bible says, “Whoever would love life and see good days must keep their tongue from evil and their lips from deceitful speech” (1 Peter 3:10, NIV). Jesus instructed us to “Love your enemies, bless them that curse you, do good to them that hate you, and pray for them which despitefully use you, and persecute you;” (Matthew 5:44, KJV).  Jesus blessed His enemies as He asked God to forgive those who were crucifying Him (Luke 23:34). Stephen blessed his enemies as he cried out to God while being stoned: “Lord, do not hold this sin against them” (Acts 7:59-60). David blessed his enemy, Saul, by refusing to lay a hand on him (1 Samuel 24:6-7). Paul blessed all who deserted him at his first trial. When no one stood by him, He prayed, “May it not be held against them” (2 Timothy 4:16). We bless those who come against us because Jesus said, “they know not what they do” (Luke 23:34).

  •  Rejoice with those who rejoice, and weep with those who weep. v. 15

Thinking of others, and putting ourselves in their shoes, will help us relate to what they are going through so we can sincerely weep with them in their trials and rejoice with them in their blessings.

  • Be of the same mind toward one another; do not be haughty in mind, but associate with the lowly. Do not be wise in your own estimation. v. 16

First Corinthians 4:7 says, “For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?” We are all the same in God’s eyes. None of us is greater or less than anyone else. We are unwise to compare ourselves to others and use ourselves as the standard of measurement (2 Corinthians 10:12).

  • Never pay back evil for evil to anyone. Respect what is right in the sight of all men. v. 17

We are instructed in 1 Peter 3:9 not to repay evil with evil or insult with insult. We are instructed, on the contrary, to repay evil with blessing so that we may inherit a blessing.

  • If possible, so far as it depends on you, be at peace with all men. v. 18

We can do our best to live at peace with others by trusting God to care of the wrongs done to us. We need to remember that our struggles are not against people (Ephesians 6:12). It helps me keep peace by remembering that Satan uses other people’s weaknesses to attack my weaknesses. If we know Satan uses others to provoke us, it will help us not retaliate when they treat us wrong.

  • Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord. v. 19

Don’t step in front of God and tell Him “I got this. I can handle it on my own.” Let God be your vindicator. He will repay.

  • But if your enemy is hungry, feed him, and if he is thirsty, give him a drink; for in so doing you will heap burning coals on his head.” v. 20

We had a neighbor once that treated us poorly. No matter what she did to us, my husband and I refused to treat her poorly in return. Instead, we blessed her by helping her with things she needed done. By doing so, it convicted her and eventually changed her heart toward us.

  • Do not be overcome by evil, but overcome evil with good. v. 21

There may be a lot of evil in this world, but we can overcome it with good, because He who is in us is so much greater than he who is in the world (1 John 4:4).

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for these powerful truths in Your Word to encourage and help us live a life surrendered to You. Help us apply these truths every day with the help of Your Holy Spirit in us.  Help us not to be wise in our eyes, but to fear You and depart from evil. For it shall be health to our body and nourishment to our bones (Proverbs 3:7-8).

In Jesus’ name we pray, Amen!

 

How did God speak to you through Romans 12? Is there anything He revealed that you would like to share with others? 

 

*This series will continue next Monday as we study Romans 13.  Have a blessed week faithfully serving the Lord!

 

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Monday’s Blog: Paul Series “Romans 3”

We continue our study of Paul’s letters in Romans to Philemon. Last week, we studied Romans 2. This week we move on to Romans 3.

The chapter starts off with talking about how the Jews were first entrusted with the teachings of God. And though some did not believe God, it did not nullify His faithfulness to His Word.

The Apostle Paul explains:

“What then? If some did not believe, their unbelief will not nullify the faithfulness of God, will it? May it never be! Rather, let God be found true, though every man be found a liar, as it is written,

That You may be justified in Your words,
And prevail when You are judged.’

Romans 3:3-4, NASB

God’s Word will stand as complete truth regardless whether we believe Him or not.

Jesus said:

“Heaven and earth will pass away, but My words will not pass away.”

Matthew 24:35

Even though our unbelief cannot hinder God’s faithfulness to His Word, it can hinder His Word from having an effect in our lives. Jesus told the Pharisees and teachers of the law:

You have a fine way of setting aside the commands of God in order to observe your own traditions! For Moses said, ‘Honor your father and mother,’ and, ‘Anyone who curses their father or mother is to be put to death.’ But you say that if anyone declares that what might have been used to help their father or mother is Corban (that is, devoted to God)— then you no longer let them do anything for their father or mother. Thus you nullify the word of God by your tradition that you have handed down. And you do many things like that.”

Mark 7:9-13, NIV

Many people question God’s faithfulness today. There are many things written in His Word that people try to refute on the sole basis that they haven’t experienced or seen it happen.

Why is God’s Word alive and active in some people’s lives and not others? Why are some experiencing God’s promises while others are not?  Is God faithful to some and not to others?

Jesus said:

“Did I not say to you that IF you believe, you WILL see the glory of God?”

John 11:40, NASB (emphasis mine)

God is faithful to His Word. As we learned last week in Romans 2, God shows no partiality. He will do for each of us exactly what He says He will do.

The remainder of Romans 3 talks about how though the Jews were the first to be entrusted with the teachings of God, they were not better than others. They were just as guilty of sin as everyone else.

What then? Are we better than they? Not at all; for we have already charged that both Jews and Greeks are all under sin;  as it is written,

There is none righteous, not even one;
There is none who understands,
There is none who seeks for God;
All have turned aside, together they have become useless;
There is none who does good,
There is not even one.”
“Their throat is an open grave,
With their tongues they keep deceiving,”
“The poison of asps is under their lips”;
“Whose mouth is full of cursing and bitterness”;
“Their feet are swift to shed blood,
Destruction and misery are in their paths,
And the path of peace they have not known.”
“There is no fear of God before their eyes.”

Romans 3:9-18, NASB

The chapter stresses once again that the only way to be justified before God is by faith (Greek Word:“pistis” Definition: faith, belief, trust, confidence; fidelity, faithfulness).

To summarize what I learned in Romans 3: God is faithful to His Word. When we put our trust in Him, and are confident in His faithfulness, His Word will have a powerful effect in our lives.

Many of those who believed now came and openly confessed what they had done. A number who had practiced sorcery brought their scrolls together and burned them publicly. When they calculated the value of the scrolls, the total came to fifty thousand drachmas.In this way the word of the Lord spread widely and grew in power.

Acts 19:18-20, NIV

 

Heavenly Father,

We praise You that You are faithful.  We can trust that Your Word which goes forth from Your mouth will not return to You empty, without accomplishing what You desire, and without succeeding in the matter for which You sent it (Isaiah 55:11). We put our faith in You, and not in what others say or what we see happening around us. We praise You that faith comes by hearing Your Word and that Word is alive and actively working in us.

In Jesus’ faithful name, we pray. Amen!

 

How did God speak to you through Romans 3? Is there anything He revealed that you would like to share with others? 

 

*Come back next Monday as we talk about what we learned in Romans 4. Use the share tabs below to invite others to join us in this study of Romans to Philemon. You can also subscribe below to receive email reminders of new posts. Have a blessed week trusting God that He is faithful to His Word!


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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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“Healed” By Krish Fernandez

This is the last message in my series on healing. Thank you to everyone who sent me your healing messages and miracles. I wish I could post them all! God is doing an amazing work through this series!

To those who are struggling with doubt on the subject of healing, remember what I said in the first post, seek God and ask Him to show you the truth. Don’t just take my word, or anyone else’s word. Seek God and His Word, and you will find the answer.

“If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him” (James 1:5).

Follow these links if you missed any posts in this series:

Is It God’s Will To Heal You?

Pray For The Gift Of Healing

“God’s Grace” By Dr. Dorothy Hooks

Healing Testimony By Dave Moore

Today, I want to close with this wonderful teaching I read recently on Krish Fernandez’s blog. I pray it blesses you as much as it blessed me!

Healed

By Krish Fernandez

The redemptive work of Christ has not only redeemed and delivered you but it has also healed you. If you are sick; it could be a simple cold, an allergy or even a life-threatening disease like cancer, this message is especially for you to receive your miracle. And if you are in good health, do not wait until sickness comes rather read this post and prepare yourself to walk in divine health all the days of your life.

Healing is your inheritance and you need to take possession of it. When the Israelites were journeying to the Land of Promise, God told them: I have given you the Land. (Deuteronomy 1:8) (Numbers 33:53) Notice that God spoke in the past tense. The land already had their names written on it. The land was already deposited into their account. But the Israelites never entered into the land because of their unbelief. They just could not see themselves in the land. They could not see that God had already given it to them. (Hebrews 3:16-19). The story of the Israelites is in the Bible so that we can learn from them and not repeat their mistakes. Let not unbelief come in the way of you taking possession of your inheritance of health and healing.

 

Healed

Isaiah 53:4, in most Bibles reads as: Surely he hath borne our griefs, and carried our sorrows: yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God, and afflicted. This is an inaccurate translation. The word that was translated as grief should really be translated as sickness and the word translated as sorrows should really be translated as pain. You can look this up here | Isaiah 53:4 Hebrew Text Analysis

So the accurate translation reads: Surely he hath borne our sickness, and carried our pain, yet we did esteem him stricken, smitten of God and afflicted. Notice that the verse is in the past tense. The next verse reads by his stripes we are healed. (Isaiah 53:5). When Peter quoted this verse he quoted it in the past tense. He said by his stripes you were healed (1 Peter 2:24). This is similar to God telling the Israelites: I have given you the land of Canaan. God has healed you. 2000 years ago when Jesus Christ died on the Cross, he bore your sickness, carried your pain and healing and health were deposited into your account that very day, even before you were born. What I am telling has to be spiritually discerned. (1 Corinthians 2:14)

God healed you even before you were born, but the reason you are not walking in healing and health is because you did not know that you were healed (Proverbs 23:7) and because you did not know, you were not able to take possession of it. The Israelites did not enter the Land of Promise, not because God did not give it to them, but because they did not take it. (Numbers 32:13) (Numbers 14:33). To live in health is your inheritance and you need to take possession of it.

Isn’t that a relief? You are not trying to get God to heal you. God has already healed you and He says: Son, see I have already healed you, go and take possession of it. (Deuteronomy 1:8). God has already healed all the people of the world but it is only those who know it and appropriate it that receive healing and walk in divine health. (Psalm 103:1-3)

 

Taking Possession of your Healing

So how do we take possession of our healing? Remember, God has already healed you by his grace. It is nothing you did or did not do. He healed you, even before you were born. And it is by faith that we have access to this grace. (Romans 5:2). So the grace of God has given health and healing and it is by faith that we take possession of it. The Bible teaches that saving faith always produces works. (James 2:17) (James 2:26). When God told the Israelites: Go and take… it required the Israelites to act on their faith. Similarly for you to Go and take possession of your health and healing requires you to act on your faith by speaking words that give you life, exercising authority in Christ, Thanking God, Meditating on the Scriptures and Speaking to your Mountains.

 

Speaking Words that give Life

One of the ways you act on your faith is by speaking words that give you life. Peter said: If you love life and want to see good days, you will keep your tongue from evil… (1 Peter 3:10). James spoke of the same thing by saying: the tongue is like a small spark that sets the forest on fire (James 3:6) or a small rudder that steers your entire life (James 3:4-5). There are many Old Testament references as well that speak about the proper use of the tongue. Life and death are in the power of the tongue. (Proverbs 18:21) The bible also says: A man eats the fruits of his lips (Proverbs 13:2-3) (Proverbs 21:23). According to all these scripture, you are what you speak and therefore you must obey the Bible and begin speaking words that give you life. Speak the words of the Bible and do not speak words of death.

Some Healing and Health Confessions:

Surely he bore my sickness and carried my pain (Isaiah 53:4)

By his stripes I was healed (Isaiah 53:5)

The same Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead is in me and He will also give life to my mortal body (Romans 8:11)

 

Now I am not teaching you some mantras to repeat every day. You can repeat the above verses 1,000 times and still not take possession of your healing if you do not believe them. You need to first believe that God has already healed you and then speak these words of faith. If somebody asks you how are you feeling today? You should confess: I am healed in the Name of Jesus. Even, if you do not feel like it, confess that you are healed, not as a mantra but with faith, because you believe that God has already healed you.

 

Exercising Authority in Christ

Another way to act on your faith is to exercise your Authority in Christ. When Satan tries to steal your inheritance of health and healing and test your faith with the symptoms of a sickness, you have to be ready with the Scriptures like Jesus (Matthew 4:1-11) (Luke 4:1-12). That is when you need to say: Away from me Satan. For it is written: Surely he bore my sickness and carried my pain. I am healed in the Name of Jesus. Resist the Devil and he will flee from you (James 4:7) and do not give him a foothold in your life (Ephesians 4:27). You got to be ready with “it is Written”. And remember, it is not God who tests and tempts you with sickness but Satan (John 10:10). That is why James said: consider it pure joy when you face trials because that is when Satan tests you and you can prove him wrong with what is written. (James 1:2-4).

 

Hearts overflowing with Thankfulness 

When you believe that you are already healed and begin to walk in the light of that truth, your heart begins to overflow with thankfulness. You no longer ask God to heal you, rather you begin to thank him for what he has already done. Thanking God for what he has already done is another way of acting on your faith. I am sure you understand now, why Paul always spoke about rejoicing and thanking God. (Philippians 4:4-7) (1 Thessalonians 5:16-18). I believe that the majority of Paul’s prayers were prayers of thanksgiving and not prayers of asking God for something. That is because he had tremendous Revelations with respect to what God had already given to him in Christ.

 

Meditating on the Word of Healing and Renewing the Mind

Another important work is meditation. (Joshua 1:8) (Psalms 1:1-3) (Psalm 119:148) (Psalm 119:15). Now the word Mediation in Hebrew really means: to study, to mutter, to ponder, to muse and to declare. (Hebrew-English | Mediate) It can even include singing. It is important we continuously bring the scriptures of healing to our memory by muttering them to ourselves, studying the bible, pondering on them and even singing them day and night. It is like one preacher says: you need to first get the sickness out of your mind before you get it out of your body. Paul urged the believers to be transformed by the renewing of their mind. (Romans 12:2). The way you think is how you will live. (Proverbs 23:7) (3 John 1:2).

 

Speaking to your Mountain

We already spoke about speaking words that give life but Jesus also taught us that we should speak to our mountains. (Matthew 21:18-22) (Mark 11:12-14, 20-23) Now the mountains that he is referring to here are the trials we face in life. When we come across trials of many kinds, we start talking to God, our family, friends and neighbors about our trials. But that is not the right approach. It is like one preacher says: You got to speak to your mountain and not about your mountain.

Some believers can spend their entire prayer time weeping before God talking about their trials. The right approach is not to speak to God about your mountain but to speak to your mountain about God. So when you get a headache, you shouldn’t be telling everybody: My head hurts. Rather you should be speaking to your headache about God. That is how you act on your faith and take possession of your healing and health. You say: Surely Jesus bore my sickness and carried my pain. Headache I command you to leave in the name of Jesus. Same goes for the cancer or any other sickness in your body.

When you pray or speak to your mountain, you need to believe that you have received them and then you will have them. (Mark 11:24) What do you think that means? You need to first believe that God has already healed you and deposited healing and health into your account. Then speak to your mountain: that you were healed, therefore you are healed and finally thank God for the promise of healing and health.

The more you speak about your trial the bigger it gets, but when you speak to your trial about God, you begin to see it in the right perspective: your trial is small and powerless when compared to the exceeding greatness of God’s power that works towards us who believe. (Ephesians 1:19-20) (Ephesians 3:20)

 

Krish accepted Jesus as his Savior in 2009. After that, God in his grace began to open up the scriptures to him. God has impressed a strong desire in his heart to teach His Word to all.

But if I say, “I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot. (Jeremiah 20:9)

You can learn more about Krish at:

Website – http://mumbaichristiancounselor.blogspot.in/

Blog – http://mumbaichristiandiary.blogspot.in/

Facebook – https://www.facebook.com/groups/maderighteous/

 

*Thank you, Krish, for allowing me to share this powerful teaching. I found the same mistake in some translations for Isaiah 53:4. I shared the original Greek word for it in my first post. It does mean “sickness.” I love how God pointed that out to both of us. 🙂

 *Follow this link to read all the messages in this series.


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Monday’s Blog: Ignite The Fire In Your Spirit – Renew Your Mind

We continue our series on igniting the fire in our spirits. Last week I talked about the wilderness. This week I want to focus on the temptations Jesus experienced, and the Israelites experienced, in the wilderness. We’ll compare how Jesus handled those temptations differently than the Israelites.

1st Temptation:

  • JESUS

After fasting forty days and forty nights, he was hungry. The tempter came to him and said, “If you are the Son of God, tell these stones to become bread.”

Jesus answered, “It is written: ‘Man does not live on bread alone, but on every word that comes from the mouth of God.’”

—Matthew 4:2-4

  • ISRAELITES

The whole Israelite community set out from Elim and came to the Desert of Sin, which is between Elim and Sinai, on the fifteenth day of the second month after they had come out of Egypt. In the desert the whole community grumbled against Moses and Aaron. The Israelites said to them, “If only we had died by the Lord’s hand in Egypt! There we sat around pots of meat and ate all the food we wanted, but you have brought us out into this desert to starve this entire assembly to death.”

—Exodus 16:1-3

The Bible tells us to set our minds on things above, not on earthly things (Colossians 3:2) Heaven and earth will pass away, but God’s Words will never pass away (Mark 13:31). Jesus knew His spiritual body was more important to feed than his earthly body. The Israelites, on the other hand, cared more about their physical needs than their spiritual needs.

God led the Israelites through the wilderness to renew (renovate) their minds and teach them to stop relying on and following their flesh, and start relying on and following the Holy Spirit.

Before I knew Christ my mind was set on my flesh. Consequently, after I received Christ I continued to follow my flesh even though I no longer wanted to.

God had to work with me to renovate my mind. He had to help me tear down the lies the enemy sowed all those years and replace them with the Truth. He had to teach me how to set my mind on what the Spirit desires, instead of what my sinful nature desires. As my mind is on the Spirit, I am able to put to death the things in my flesh that once controlled me (Romans 8:13).

Those who live according to the sinful nature have their minds set on what that nature desires; but those who live in accordance with the Spirit have their minds set on what the Spirit desires. The mind of sinful man is death, but the mind controlled by the Spirit is life and peace; the sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so. Those controlled by the sinful nature cannot please God.

—Romans 8:5-8

The Israelites were hostile to God because their minds were set on their flesh. Jesus was able to remain in peace in the face of temptation because His mind was set on the Spirit.

 

2nd Temptation:

  • JESUS

Then the devil took him to the holy city and had him stand on the highest point of the temple. “If you are the Son of God,” he said, “throw yourself down. For it is written: “‘He will command his angels concerning you, and they will lift you up in their hands, so that you will not strike your foot against a stone.’”

Jesus answered him, “It is also written: ‘Do not put the Lord your God to the test.’

—Matthew 4:5-7

  • ISRAELITES

… They camped at Rephidim, but there was no water for the people to drink. So they quarreled with Moses and said, “Give us water to drink.”

Moses replied, “Why do you quarrel with me? Why do you put the Lord to the test?”

But the people were thirsty for water there, and they grumbled against Moses. They said, “Why did you bring us up out of Egypt to make us and our children and livestock die of thirst?”

… And he called the place Massah and Meribah because the Israelites quarreled and because they tested the Lord saying, “Is the Lord among us or not?”

—Exodus 17:1-3, 7

The Devil tried to tempt Jesus into testing if God was truly with Him. But Jesus knew God would never leave Him, as Deuteronomy 31:8 explains: “The LORD himself goes before you and will be with you; he will never leave you nor forsake you. Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”

It amazes me how the Israelites saw God was with them when He parted the Red Sea and rescued them from their oppressors, but they didn’t trust God would be with them through the wilderness. Every time they had a need, they wanted God to prove He was with them.

I think sometimes we allow our minds to be consumed with our trials that we forget all the things God’s done for us. I was worrying about my finances one day when I came across this note I wrote in my journal seven years ago:

“We have been struggling lately with bills and have to charge our groceries and the rest of our Christmas presents, and our credit card is close to maxing out. Yesterday, I wasted an hour trying to win $1,000 on the radio. After wasting my time, I thought to myself, ‘Why am I trying to make God bless me the way I think He needs to. He will provide for us. He will help us pay our bills.’ The next day, my husband got a surprise $1,000 Christmas bonus. He has never gotten a Christmas bonus from this company before. God is real! He is in control! We are now able to pay for our groceries and the rest of our Christmas presents without charging them!”

God used this past victory to remind me if He provided then, He will provide now. He is the same yesterday, today and forever (Hebrews 13:8).

If the Israelites would have remembered what God already did for them, they would’ve been at peace and trusted God to provide for their needs.

I remember the days of long ago; I meditate on all your works and consider what your hands have done. I spread out my hands to you; my soul thirsts for you like a parched land.       

Selah (pause and think about that)

—Psalm 143:5-6, emphasis mine

 

3rd Temptation:

  • JESUS

Again, the devil took him to a very high mountain and showed him all the kingdoms of the world and their splendor. “All this I will give you,” he said, “if you will bow down and worship me.”

Jesus said to him, “Away from me, Satan! For it is written: ‘Worship the Lord your God, and serve him only.’”

—Matthew 4:8-10

  • ISRAELITES

When the people saw that Moses was so long in coming down from the mountain, they gathered around Aaron and said, “Come, make us gods who will go before us. As for this fellow Moses who brought us up out of Egypt, we don’t know what has happened to him.”

Aaron answered them, “Take off the gold earrings that your wives, your sons and your daughters are wearing, and bring them to me.” So all the people took off their earrings and brought them to Aaron. He took what they handed him and made it into an idol cast in the shape of a calf, fashioning it with a tool. Then they said, “These are your gods, O Israel, who brought you up out of Egypt.”

—Exodus 32:1-4

An idol is anything apart from God that we serve and rely on for fulfillment.

Romans 12:1-2 explains how we worship and serve the Lord:

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 live in a drive-thru society. We don’t want to reach the Promise Land God’s way. We don’t want to wait around for Him. We want to skip the hard training, so we leave His path and find a quicker, easier, and more fulfilling way. Or so we think.

I see this happen a lot in the ministry. In my earlier years of following Christ I often felt pressured by others in my church to help out with the youth. I taught Sunday school for a short time, but I dreaded every minute of it. In my heart I knew I was not ready to minister to anyone yet. God was working a lot out of me and I knew I wouldn’t be the light the children needed to lead them to Jesus. So I stepped down and followed God, waiting until He was ready to use me in ministry.

My heart aches whenever I see a worldly-minded Christian in an influential ministry position. The Bible says that we who teach will be judged more strictly (James 3:1). We are held more accountable because of all the lives we are influencing. Jesus said, “Can a blind man lead a blind man? Will they not both fall into a pit” (Luke 6:39)?

God doesn’t want us chasing anything, including ministry, apart from Him. When we offer our bodies, minds, and hearts to God, He will lead us into His good, pleasing and perfect will for our lives…in His timing, not ours.

 

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for never leaving us, even when we’ve strayed from Your will. Help us to continually renew our minds in Your Word. Help us to set our minds on Your Spirit and not our flesh. Lead us through the wilderness and into Your good, pleasing and perfect will for our lives. Make us into a vessel fit for Your glory so we can shine Your light, and lead many to Christ.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

 

Next Monday will be the last message in this series. I appreciate all the wonderful comments you have shared! Thank you so much! Please continue to share whatever the Lord puts on your heart in the comment section below. I will be using some of the comments in my book. 

 

*If you have never accepted Christ as your Savior, please click on the “SALVATION” tab at the top of the website. Don’t wait another day!

*All Bible verses are taken from the NIV, unless otherwise noted.

*Follow my new facebook page to receive reminders of new posts


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Monday’s Blog: Ignite The Fire In Your Spirit – Backsliding

But if I say, “I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.

—Jeremiah 20:9

We continue our series on igniting the fire in our spirits. Follow this link if you missed any messages in this series. I am using this series in my next book: Escaping Boredom in Christianity. I am also using some of your comments in my book. I ask a couple questions at the end of each post. Feel free to answer whatever the Lord puts on your heart. Your comments are greatly appreciated.

This week I want to talk about backsliding. We all go through times when we don’t feel as close to God as we would like to. It’s important to know when we are drifting away from God, and how to find our way back to Him.

I wrote a message last year for SRL Ministries about the dangers of letting a little yeast into our marriages. I explained how we should never take our marriages for granted. If we get too comfortable in our marriages we may start to let our guard down. This applies even more so to our walk with Christ.

There are many things the Bible warns us to be on guard against. Here are a few:

  • Rebellion – “Be always on the watch, and pray that you may be able to escape all that is about to happen, and that you may be able to stand before the Son of Man” (Luke 21:36).
  • False teachings  – “Therefore, dear friends, since you already know this, be on your guard so that you may not be carried away by the error of lawless men and fall from your secure position” (2 Peter 3:17).
  • Losing faith – “Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be men of courage; be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:1).
  • Allowing our trials to lead us to sin – “Be on guard, so that your hearts will not be weighted down with dissipation and drunkenness and the worries of life, and that day will not come on you suddenly like a trap” (Luke 21:34, NASB).
  • The Satan’s deception – “Stay alert! Watch out for your great enemy, the devil. He prowls around like a roaring lion, looking for someone to devour” (1 Peter 5:8, NLT).
  • Our hearts (most important) – “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” (Proverbs 4:23).

This week I want to focus on sin, and guarding our hearts.

When things are going well in my life, and I am comfortable with my relationship with God, I have a higher tendency to let my guard down. When my guard is down, I start to let the “little” sins slide (what we would considered “little”). Once I allow the “little” sins to go unchecked, I become weak to the “bigger” temptations.

For example, the Bible informs us: “Out of the heart come evil thoughts, murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” (Matthew 15:19). When we don’t stand guard against wrong thoughts (sexually immoral, hateful, slanderous, etc.) we allow them to take root in our hearts.

Hebrews 2:1 says, We must pay more careful attention, therefore, to what we have heard, so that we do not drift away. The little things God warns us against matter, because they subtly pull our hearts away from God. The further our hearts drift away from God, the less discernment and power we have to turn from sin.

I once heard a preacher say, “We are dangerously far away when we can sin with little conviction. We should run home to the Father as quickly as we can.”

The Bible says we have died to sin (Romans 6:2). Sin can no longer have control over us. So when sin does have control over us, and we care very little about it, we are in a dangerous place. We need to quickly repent and run back to God.

In the first message of this series, I shared the different classes of boredom in Christianity. Sadly, one of the most common classes we see today is the divided heart class, which is what the Bible calls “luke-warm” believers. A luke-warm Christian allows what they consider “little” sins to keep their hearts from being fully committed to God. This is one of the most dangerous places to be, as Revelation 3:16 explains:

I know your deeds, that you are neither cold nor hot. I wish you were either one or the other! So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.

Jo Huddleston shared in her book, Amen and Good Night, God: “The lure of the lifestyle I left behind beckoned through my boredom with a sweet, clear voice. Boredom must be one of Satan’s most powerful and subtle weapons. He made my old ways look as attractive as ever. And so inviting. It would have been easy today for me to have stepped across seduction’s thin line and into the arms of worldly pleasure.”

Satan makes sin appealing. Proverbs 7:25-26 warns against adultery, “Do not let your heart turn to her ways or stray into her paths. Many are the victims she has brought down; her slain are a mighty throng.”

But verse 21 shows how appealing Satan makes it: “With persuasive words she led him astray; she seduced him with her smooth talk.”

Verse 22-23 says how he followed her, little knowing it will cost him his life.”

Adultery isn’t the only sin Satan lures us with. We may think a “little” lie, a “little” gossip or slander, holding on to a “little” anger or resentment, filling our eyes and minds with a “little” junk (immoral music, books, movies, etc.) doesn’t hurt us. After all, so many others are doing worse things and they seem to be doing fine.

When confronted with sin, one woman retorted, “Well, pastor so and so was doing it too.” We are responsible to live according to the Word of God, not according to what others are doing, even if they are Christian leaders. Jesus is our example. If He wouldn’t do it, we shouldn’t do it.

Every act of disobedience is a step further away from God. Those “little” things matter much more than we realize.

Kerry Johnson wrote in one of  her blogs: “I’ve found the more I seek God and His word, the less I desire things of the world.”  That’s true. The more we follow God and His Word, the more we will desire to obey Him. But the more we give into our flesh, the more we will desire sin.

I’ve heard people say, “But it’s too hard to turn from sin. I just can’t.”

With God’s help we can turn from ANY sin, if we want to. Sometimes sin has such a stronghold on us that we don’t want to turn from it, even though we know it’s pulling our hearts away from God and hurting us.

I talked to a woman once who was living with her boyfriend. She was a Christian. She knew God didn’t approve of her situation. She knew she was disobeying Him. She felt the conviction. She was uncomfortable. But she said she couldn’t stop. I encouraged her that she could stop. She could either move out, or go to court and get married right away.

God says He will ALWAYS give us a way out of sin. Sadly, we don’t always want to take His way out.

No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

—1 Corinthians 10:13

 

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for never letting us be tempted beyond what we can bear. Help us to turn from sin and turn to You. Help us never to be cold, or luke-warm. Keep that fire burning hot in our spirits for You! Help us to be on guard against the little yeast Satan uses to lure our hearts away from You. Keep our hearts filled with You so there is no room in it for things of this world.

In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

 

 Questions for my book:

Can you tell when your heart is drifting away from God?

The times when you’ve felt distant from the Lord, what were the causes?

 

*I appreciate your responses. I will not use any personal information in my book (name, email, website, etc.). Remember to come back next week as the series continues.

*If you have never accepted Christ as your Savior, please click on the “SALVATION” tab at the top of the website. Don’t wait another day!

*All Bible verses are taken from the NIV, unless otherwise noted.

*Follow my new facebook page to receive reminders of new posts.

*Subscribe below to receive email reminders of new posts.


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Monday’s Blog: Ignite The Fire In Your Spirit – Dare To BELIEVE!

But if I say, “I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.

—Jeremiah 20:9

Before we continue our series, I want to announce the Kindle version for my book “You Can Have a Happy Family” will be FREE on Amazon Wednesday and Thursday (2/8-2/9) to celebrate National Marriage Week. If you know anyone who needs encouragement in their marriage, please spread the word by using the share tab below.

We continue our series today on igniting the fire in our spirits. You can  follow this link if you missed any posts in this series.

This week I feel led to talk about unbelief since it’s the main cause of unfulfillment in the body of Christ. Unbelief is like a fire extinguisher. Nothing will put out the fire in our spirits quicker than unbelief.

Since following Christ, God has continued to work with me on my attitude. Just when I think I’ve got it all together, God shows me a part of my attitude that still needs to change. Lately God has been showing me that the root cause of a bad attitude is unbelief. My pastor shared a similar message yesterday about how bad behaviors are caused by bad beliefs. He said behind every self-defeating behavior is a lie that we are believing. And to stop defeating ourselves we must stop deceiving ourselves.

My neighbor is a Christian, but she’s always very doom and gloom. She has some medical problems, and her husband is in a nursing home. When I saw her last week, I asked how her husband was doing. She kind of rolled her eyes and said, “He’ll never get better.” So I asked how she was doing. She said she had to go for surgery in a couple days and she seemed pessimistic they would find cancer.

To try to lift her spirit, I mentioned some miracles I’ve seen God do in people’s lives. I shared how some have gone to the hospital for surgery and were sent home because the doctors couldn’t find anything wrong with them. I thought she would disregard what I said, but surprisingly, she recalled the same thing happened to her father when he was scheduled for cataracts surgery years ago. She said the doctor sent him home because they couldn’t find anything wrong with his eyes.

By drawing her attention away from her problem and encouraging her to focus on what God could do, I believe it sparked a little faith in her heart. The day after her scheduled surgery, I sent her a text asking how she was doing. Amazingly, instead of being negative, she said she was doing well, and thanked God that there was no cancer!

Jesus said, “Did I not tell you that if you believed, you would see the glory of God?”

—John 11:40

Sometimes we say we believe God, but our actions tell Him differently. When we murmur and complain to everyone about our problems, we are telling God we don’t trust Him. When we handle our problems our way instead of God’s way, we are telling God our plan is better than His. When we complain to God, begging Him to answer our prayers, we are telling Him we don’t trust He will.

I used to be the queen of doubt. It used to drive my husband crazy. He would always say, “How could you have so much faith at one moment and then when circumstances change you lose it, just like that?” I’d read a passage in the Bible, get all excited and tell my husband how much I trusted God. No sooner would I share it with him, than I’d get tested with a trial that related to the verse and quickly lose faith.

James 1:5-8 says, “If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does.

Why is it so hard for us to believe God will answer our prayers? I believe the main reason is because the world tells us different. The world’s ways are contrary to God’s ways. It’s sometimes hard to believe God’s promises when we are constantly bombarded with deception.

It’s been almost three years since God called me to the ministry of writing. The devil has sent a lot of deception and people to come against me to try and stop me. In the last year, it’s been a struggle to keep my faith with so many voices telling me different.

My husband has been supportive for the most part. Yet lately I’ve felt as though he thinks I am wasting time and money writing, because he hasn’t seen any fruit from it yet. To avoid hurting our relationship, I have been trying to only write late at night when he’s asleep. I’ve stayed up as late as 5 in the morning to get my work done. It’s been difficult with having four young children to care for and homeschool.

In the last couple months I have been worn down and contemplating if it’s worth it. Over the weekend, while cleaning my house, I asked God to show me if I am in His will and if I am doing the right thing. I thought maybe I have been misled and I’m not in His will.

Later that evening, I was laying in bed with my husband when I asked him to pray with me. As he was about to pray, He remembered something that happened at work that day. His boss was talking to him, lining him up on a job, when all of a sudden my husband felt God say, “Support your wife and tell her she is doing the right thing.”

My husband was surprised. I was surprised too since I hadn’t told my husband my prayer. God caught my husband’s attention, so He could deliver a message to him and answer my prayer!

God is amazing! He truly hears and answers our prayers. We don’t need to worry and doubt God. We need to simply believe Him.

Have faith in God,” Jesus answered. “I tell you the truth, if anyone says to this mountain, ‘Go, throw yourself into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart but believes that what he says will happen, it will be done for him. Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask for in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.

—Mark 11:22-24

Whatever problem you are facing today, God has the solution. Stand on God’s promises even if everyone around you is telling you there’s no hope for your situation. Keep rejoicing in God’s Word and trust in His faithfulness. As you trust Him, He’ll ignite a fire in your spirit, and nothing the devil throws at you will be able to extinguish it!

 

Heavenly Father,

We praise You that You hear and answer our prayers. We praise You that even when we don’t know what to pray, You know what we need. Help us overcome any unbelief and doubt we may have. Help us to stand on Your promises, and trust the Word that goes out from Your mouth will not return to You void, but will accomplish what You desire. It will achieve the purpose for which You sent it (Isaiah 55:11). You are faithful to Your Word.

 In Jesus’ Name, Amen!

 

 Questions for my book:

Do you have a story you would like to share about a prayer God has answered?

Do you want to share a special miracle you have witnessed in your life or the lives of others?

 

I would love to hear your stories. I will be using some of them in my next book: Escaping Boredom In Christianity.

Please know I am reserving the right to use any comments on this site in my book. However, I will not share any personal information in the book (i.e. names, email addresses, websites, etc.). Your comments will be completely anonymous.

Thanks in advance for your comments! Be sure to come back next Monday as the series continues.

*If you have never accepted Christ as your Savior, please click on the “SALVATION” tab at the top of the website. Don’t wait another day!

*All Bible verses are taken from the NIV, unless otherwise noted.

*Follow my new facebook page to receive reminders of new posts.

*Subscribe below to receive email reminders of new posts.


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Monday’s Blog: Ignite The Fire In Your Spirit – God’s Goodness

But if I say, “I will not mention him or speak any more in his name,” his word is in my heart like a fire, a fire shut up in my bones. I am weary of holding it in; indeed, I cannot.

—Jeremiah 20:9

We continue our series on igniting the fire in our spirits. Follow this link if you missed the last two messages in this series.

I was talking to a friend last week. He had recently returned from visiting a former colleague of his. While he was at dinner with her, she asked him to share how he came to know the Lord. She was raised in a Christian home, but she said his testimony was different than she had been taught.

All she heard growing up in the church was that we are sinners, but she never heard about the goodness of God. My friend said she listened intently as he talked about God’s love for us, and shared all the good things God has given us. He said now that she knows the Truth, God can work in her heart and she’ll have no choice but to fall in love with God.

When Christ preached, He didn’t beat people down for their sins. He appealed to them in love. He didn’t condone sin. But He didn’t condemn them for it. He had mercy on them and forgave them for their sins.

When God called me to start this website, I asked what He wanted me to tell people in my first post. I heard over and over in my spirit, “Tell them I love them.”

God didn’t say, “Tell them what horrible sinners they are.” And God didn’t lead me to only share His commands. He led me to share the reasons and benefits behind His commands, so people would know God is for them, not against them.

Therefore, although in Christ I could be bold and order you to do what you ought to do, yet I appeal to you on the basis of love…

—Philemon 1:8-9

Satan uses guilt and condemnation to make people think God is disappointed in them.

Revelation 12:10 says, “…for the accuser of our brothers has been thrown down, who accuses them day and night before our God.”

If Satan constantly accused us before God when he was in heaven, then he’s surely going to accuse us while he’s here on earth.

I wrote a blog a few weeks ago about condemnation. My New Year’s resolution this year was to get rid of all condemnation. It’s only been a few weeks since I made my resolution, but I have noticed a dramatic change in my life. Being free from guilt has made room in my heart for more joy in serving God. My fire is burning more now than ever for the Lord.

By paying close attention to condemnation, I notice how many times I hold on to guilt. It’s so subtle that I didn’t realize it until I started looking for it. I notice it’s mostly the small things that I condemn myself for. For example, when I forget to do something for someone, I get upset with myself and hold on to it for a few hours, or sometimes days, instead of giving it to God and forgiving myself right away.

I also notice I see the Bible in a different light when I read it without any condemnation. When I read the Bible, sometimes I’m tempted to feel overwhelmed, because I need help in so many areas. But when I read it without any condemnation, I see each command as a promise from God, instead of a burden.

When a verse says that we shall do this and we shall not do that, instead of feeling overwhelmed, we should praise God that those are His promises for us. He promises to help us obey those commands, which are meant for our benefit.

Jesus said, “If ye love me, keep my commandments.”

John 14:15, KJV

In the past, that verse used to frustrate me. I used to think it meant: If I love Jesus, then I better keep His commandments.

Who can possibly keep all His commandments? No one. Jesus was the only one who could.

I felt God show me that the verse means: If you love Jesus, then you will BE ABLE to keep His commandments.

“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 15:5

Jesus prayed that God would sanctify His disciples through His Word, which is Truth (John 17:17).

When we read the Bible in faith, the power of His Word waters and produces His fruit in us. When we read the Bible or hear a message preached from the Bible, we will feel uncomfortable at times. That uncomfortable feeling is conviction. Conviction is God making us aware of sin in our lives, so we can cooperate with Him to get rid of those things that are hindering His fruit from developing in us. God’s conviction is not meant to condemn us. It’s meant to help us.

Satan wants to make us think God is condemning us so we feel guilty when we read the Bible. He does this to keep us away from God’s Word. We must stand our ground and not allow ourselves to be condemned, not even for a moment. When we fall into sin, we should confess it to God and repent—turn away from the sin and turn to God. But we shouldn’t condemn ourselves for it. When we read the Bible and God convicts us of sin, we should thank Jesus that He already paid the price for that sin, and thank God that He is helping us overcome it.

But now having been set free from sin, and having become slaves of God, you have your fruit to holiness, and the end, everlasting life. For the wages of sin is death, but the gift of God is eternal life in Christ Jesus our Lord.

—Romans 6:22-23, NKJV

 

Heavenly Father,

We praise You for forgiving us our sins by sending Jesus to save us. Help us not to condemn ourselves, because we know that You don’t condemn us. Show us Your goodness as we study Your Word each day. Shower us with Your love, so we will never be hungry for anything other than You.

In Jesus’ Precious Name, Amen!

 

Questions for my book:

When you sin, do you give it to God and forgive yourself right away? Or do you punish yourself for a few hours, days, weeks, months, or even years?

When you read the Bible do you feel condemnation or conviction?

 

I would love to have you share your comments below. I will be using some of them in my next book: Escaping Boredom In Christianity. Please understand I reserve the right to use any comments on this site in my book. But I will not share any personal information in the book (i.e. names, email addresses, websites, etc.).

Thanks for your comments! Be sure to come back next Monday as the series continues.

*If you have never accepted Christ as your Savior, please click on the “SALVATION” tab at the top of the website. Don’t wait another day!

*All Bible verses are taken from the NIV, unless otherwise noted.

*Subscribe below to receive email reminders of new posts.


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Monday’s Blog: Christmas – Our True Inheritance

I forgot to mention last week that it was the last blog in our series on the Beatitudes. If you missed the series, I highly recommend following this link and reading the messages. It was a great series. You don’t want to miss it.

Since it is Christmas time, I wanted to share a revised message I wrote last Christmas, titled:

Christmas – Our True Inheritance

This week we celebrate the birth of our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ. Christmas is meant to honor Christ, yet He is often overshadowed by Santa, gifts, shopping, holiday festivities, and other non-Christian holidays fighting to be recognized and honored.

Even though my family knows Christmas is all about Christ, I do have to admit that we often get caught up in all the glitz and glam. We love Christmas time. We love decorating and shopping for months in advance. We love baking cookies and watching Christmas shows all through December. We love piling all the kids in the car with their hot chocolates to go driving around looking at lights.

We love leaving my parents’ house on Christmas Eve with presents filled to the roof of our car. We love waking up Christmas morning to shouts of joy when our kids see presents under the tree. We love visiting family and friends during the break, making Christmas last the whole week.

With all that excitement, it’s easy to lose focus of what Christmas is all about. So today I want to step away from the holiday excitement for a moment and redirect my focus toward Jesus, and give Him His due honor this Christmas by recognizing what He has done for us.

We know Jesus was born to be the Savior of the world. But do you know how much more Jesus has given us along with salvation?

I remember as a new believer reading about the promises of the Kingdom of Heaven in the Bible and thinking, “Heaven is great, but what about now? What do I have in this life? Surely, there has to be more.

I soon learned that Jesus didn’t come to just give us eternal life after we die. He came to give us eternal life now! He came to give us the keys to the Kingdom of Heaven. This means that we have access to the same power and authority He had when He walked this earth.

Jesus told Peter in Matthew 16:19, “I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”

In Luke 12, after Jesus told His disciples not to worry about their physical necessities, He said in verse 31-32, But seek his kingdom, and these things will be given to you as well. “Do not be afraid, little flock, for your Father has been pleased to give you the kingdom.”

Jesus came to give us what God has given Him. Everything He has is now ours through our faith in Him. We are co-heirs in His inheritance, because we are now God’s children. We were adopted into the family of God through Jesus.

The Spirit Himself [thus] testifies together with our own spirit, [assuring us] that we are children of God. And if we are [His] children, then we are [His] heirs also: heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ [sharing His inheritance with Him]; only we must share His suffering if we are to share His glory.

Romans 8:16-17, AMP

Jesus being born in the flesh was the greatest act of love. Jesus humbled Himself to be like us, to feel what we feel, to be tempted like we are tempted, to hurt like we hurt, to struggle like we struggle, in order to show us the grace that is available to us, through Him, to overcome everything in this world.

For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are—yet was without sin. Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need.

—Hebrews 4:15-16

When Jesus walked this earth, He had victory over everything, though in the natural it may have looked like He didn’t because of the great suffering He endured. That suffering however had a purpose, which is why He endured it even though He had the power to stop it. He overcame the world for us through that suffering.

…for everyone born of God overcomes the world. This is the victory that has overcome the world, even our faith. Who is it that overcomes the world? Only he who believes that Jesus is the Son of God.

—1 John 5:4-5

The authority Jesus has given us means that nothing in this world can ever have authority to rule over us without our permission. We can overcome everything through God’s grace. Nothing in this world has the authority to steal our righteousness, our peace, our joy, our hope, and our inheritance in Christ. We are truly kept safe in Him.

Once, having been asked by the Pharisees when the kingdom of God would come, Jesus replied, “The kingdom of God does not come with your careful observation, nor will people say, ‘Here it is,’ or ‘There it is,’ because the kingdom of God is within you.”

—Luke 17:20-21

So as you pass out gifts this Christmas, remember the amazing gift Jesus has given you—the keys to the kingdom of Heaven! God is living within you!

 The virgin will be with child and will give birth to a son, and they will call him Immanuel–which means, “God with us.”

—Matthew 1:23

 

 ******************************************************************************

**Prayer for the week**

Heavenly Father,

Thank You for saving us and giving us the keys to Your kingdom, making us co-heirs with Christ. Help us to honor Jesus this Christmas, and every day, by following Him and surrendering our lives over to You. 

In Jesus’s precious name, Amen!

 *******************************************************************************

I pray you all have a blessed Christmas!

*Come back next Monday as I reveal what happened behind the scenes at Christ’s birth. You don’t want to miss it!

*If you have never accepted Christ as your Savior, please click on the “SALVATION” tab at the top of the website. Don’t wait another day!

*All Bible verses are taken from the NIV, unless otherwise noted.

 


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