Choose Him! #Quickly

All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.  Ephesians 2:3

As a section, for context:
1Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. 2You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world.aHe is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. 3All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.

4But God is so rich in mercy, and he loved us so much, 5that even though we were dead because of our sins, he gave us life when he raised Christ from the dead. (It is only by God’s grace that you have been saved!) 6For he raised us from the dead along with Christ and seated us with him in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ Jesus. 7So God can point to us in all future ages as examples of the incredible wealth of his grace and kindness toward us, as shown in all he has done for us who are united with Christ Jesus.

8God saved you by his grace when you believed. And you can’t take credit for this; it is a gift from God. 9Salvation is not a reward for the good things we have done, so none of us can boast about it.10For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago.

I love this passage. And the “used to” aspect of this teaching. We are no longer of sin nature if we have chosen Christ. We are now God’s masterpiece created in Christ, to do the things that He originally planned for us! Not a reward, but a gift!!

What a wealthy place it is, to understand that we are not worthy of any reward ..but rather that God loves us so much as to grow.
Full of promise…full of opportunity … to meet Him where He is meeting us.

When faced with hardship or difficulties in life, we were led by our sin nature until we chose Christ. Now we have the complete opportunity, every moment, to choose His best! He will answer when we ask, He is there for us. The question is, will we meet Him where He stands, or will we be led by sinful inclinations.

I hope we choose Him!! Every time.

 

Be Undivided In Your Loyalty to God!

Believers who are poor have something to boast about, for God has honored them.

James 1:9 

Every time (especially this week) I write a post, I am using main verses that God has given me within the last 24 hours. Sometimes, like this time, I was confused until reading the previous verses. It is amazing, this theme that He is taking us through. 🙂  

What does this verse make YOU think about?

perhaps … “blessed are the poor in spirit … ” … Matthew 5:3

YOU?

Let’s look …verse 2-8 (Verse 1 is author intro)

2Dear brothers and sisters,a when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.3For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing.

That’s what God was saying earlier this week … enduring … faith being tested is a great way to our difficult circumstances. And growing our endurance. Fully developed endurance means we are perfect and complete! What a goal this could be!!
Continuing….

5If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking.

Wow!
So… ask God for wisdom to deal with the difficulties you face. Ask for what you need.
Of course, we think of the  “knock and the door will be opened” passages (Matthew 7): verse 7“Keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you. 8 For everyone who asks, receives. Everyone who seeks, finds. And to everyone who knocks, the door will be opened. Luke 11:9“And so I tell you, keep on asking, and you will receive what you ask for. Keep on seeking, and you will find. Keep on knocking, and the door will be opened to you.

I think that’s one thing I have forgotten this week. My heart has wanted to be acting the right way and enduring the difficult things. But even in keeping my eyes on Him, I haven’t been ‘not frustrated’. Maturing and wisdom go hand in hand, don’t you think? You can’t grow if you are immaturely enduring…something has to be added to the equation … a skill, and understanding…the ability to act out of wisdom.
And then this part…

6But when you ask Him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

That really hit me – about being consistent. Especially in light of the main verse the Holy Spirit had let me to.

9Believers who areb poor have something to boast about, for God has honored them. 10And those who are rich should boast that God has humbled them. They will fade away like a little flower in the field. 11The hot sun rises and the grass withers; the little flower droops and falls, and its beauty fades away. In the same way, the rich will fade away with all of their achievements.

Correct me if I’m wrong..but I draw a correlation between the poor being undivided in their loyalty to God. They depend on Him and thus are not ‘unstable’.

That’s interesting to me. Personally I see money as a tool .. but it is true, that the more money one has the more they can be distracted by it, or the things of this world. However, my hope / belief is that as it is a tool it doesn’t necessarily affect the heart directly. Rather the heart is what directs the tool. Therefore, the tool (money) can be in the hands of a stable person, who is still dependent on God’s leading, and undivided in loyalty.

Hmm. I guess that’s my heart’s desire. Is it possible? Hmm. I believe so … but this is an area of research that I have not delved into. You don’t see many examples of this, though a couple people do come to mind!

Eyes on Him

All you who fear the LORD, trust the LORD! He is your helper and your shield.
Psalms 115:11 (NLT)

Well, how did everyone else fare today? Eyes on Jesus? Closed mouth and discerning words?

I did okay … but not as well as I need to.

It isn’t easy to be discerning and obedient in a complete way. I guess this is a mark of maturity.

I did notice today that I experienced more emotional responses when I wasn’t dependent on God. So I repented and found that my mind cleared up, and I could respond as Jesus would want me to. We cannot expect to pass the test if we are not willing to trust God.

Psalm 115

1Not to us, O LORD, not to us, but to your name goes all the glory for your unfailing love and faithfulness.
2Why let the nations say, “Where is their God?”
3Our God is in the heavens, and he does as he wishes.
4Their idols are merely things of silver and gold, shaped by human hands.
5They have mouths but cannot speak, and eyes but cannot see.
6They have ears but cannot hear, and noses but cannot smell.
7They have hands but cannot feel, and feet but cannot walk, and throats but cannot make a sound.
8And those who make idols are just like them, as are all who trust in them.
9O Israel, trust the LORD! He is your helper and your shield.
10O priests, descendants of Aaron, trust the LORD! He is your helper and your shield.
11All you who fear the LORD, trust the LORD! He is your helper and your shield.
12The LORD remembers us and will bless us. He will bless the people of Israel and bless the priests, the descendants of Aaron.
13He will bless those who fear the LORD, both great and lowly.
14 May the LORD richly bless both you and your children.
15 May you be blessed by the LORD, who made heaven and earth.
16The heavens belong to the LORD, but he has given the earth to all humanity.
17The dead cannot sing praises to the LORD, for they have gone into the silence of the grave.
18But we can praise the LORD both now and forever! Praise the LORD!

Focus on Him!

Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.
Hebrews 3:1 NIV

If you share in the heavenly calling…. then fix your eyes on Christ ….Jesus. So simple,  right? At least we have an open door to relationship with Him… that at least makes it easier…. but it doesn’t say there won’t be any hardship.  Rather we are to endure joyfully those difficult things because we understand the purpose of them.

As in James 1:2-4 2Dear brothers and sisters,a when troubles come your way, consider it an opportunity for great joy.3For you know that when your faith is tested, your endurance has a chance to grow. 4So let it grow, for when your endurance is fully developed, you will be perfect and complete, needing nothing. That if we endure and overcome,  we will come to a better place within…. in our character. And this, in turn, reflects how we will continue overcoming … to a pattern of moving from strength to strength… this character trait or pattern reminds me of how “The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day.Proverbs 4:18

And this goes back to what was in yesterday’s post, about how we are moving from a difficult place to a place of blessing and abundance. This understanding that “if we endure, we will also reign with him.” 2 Timothy 2:!2 .

So encouragement to endure where it is difficult, and to keep the focus on Jesus! Not just as a person and teacher…but in our relationship with Him! Here is a previous post about Him!

 

Transition. Silently…

So I went to Jerusalem and was there three days.
Nehemiah 2:11 (ESV)

Transition … from a place of difficulty to a place of abundance.
Nehemiah went to Jerusalem…as he was on his journey. He was traveling with letters from the king, to the governors of the land so that they would let him have safe passage. Verse 8 says that the king wrote these letters for him (as well as sent along army officers and horsemen to protect him) “because the gracious hand of God was on me.” So we know he is in alignment with God’s purposes. 

Continuing: 10But when Sanballat the Horonite and Tobiah the Ammonite official heard of my arrival, they were very displeased that someone had come to help the people of Israel.

This journey is not easy, nor simple. And it is also emotionally stressful for Nehemiah … concerning Sanballat and Tobiah who don’t want anyone to help the people of Israel – but which Nehemiah is most definitely trying to do.

So he arrives in Jerusalem.

Then … Three days later, 12 I slipped out during the night, taking only a few others with me. I had not told anyone about the plans God had put in my heart for Jerusalem. We took no pack animals with us except the donkey I was riding.

He keeps his mouth shut. He does not speak to anyone about what God has said to him.
Transition time. Battle. The internal battle of discernment and wisdom of how to act in a situation … and understanding that God has given you a purpose that no other person can help you with. A purpose that requires the strength of heart and of character.
Sometimes, speaking of these things is detrimental to what God is trying to do in you, and with you. It is sometimes best to keep silent, so as to keep the course.

This silence reminded me of Daniel .. .how he would pray in secret. Yes, still he was seen and reported to the king …but he wasn’t praying to disgrace the king. He was doing it out of his heart and love for God. His first allegiance was to God. 
If Daniel had proclaimed his prayer times and done it in public, that would have been disgraceful to the king – a direct insult. But when King Darius found out and had him arrested and thrown into the den of lions. The king said to him, “May your God, whom you serve so faithfully, rescue you. The king was not angry with Daniel but was following through with the law he had made. He actually had compassion for Daniel…and as we read earlier, King Darius was ‘deeply troubled, and he tried to think of a way to save Daniel. He spent the rest of the day looking for a way to get Daniel out of this predicament.’ There was favor on Daniel … this is all part of God’s plan. Daniel is not seen in outrage or emotionally reactive…rather, even after his night with the lions, he responds with “Long live the king! My God sent his angel to shut the lions’ mouths so that they would not hurt me, for I have been found innocent in his sight. And I have not wronged you, Your Majesty.” Daniel 6:22

Daniel was upstanding in the way he responded to the king. We don’t know how he felt, .. but not a scratch was found on him. It seems that he was peaceful. The Bible says ‘Not a scratch was found on him, for he had trusted in his God.’ Daniel 6:23. King Darius went on to punish the men and their families by feeding them to the same lions. Then he decreed in many languages that everyone must fear Daniel’s God. 28So Daniel prospered during the reign of Darius and the reign of Cyrus the Persian.’ Into a place of abundance.

As we too move through transition, let us keep our wits about us. 🙂 Keep cool-headed, and our emotions at peace. If what hardship you are going through is truly allowed by God as growth to that place of abundance, and you are in alignment with Him, then surely good things are on their way to you. Keep your head up, keep what He speaks to you hidden in your heart, and build your strength and dependence on His ways.

 

…Quick to Repent!

we went through fire and water, but You brought us to a place of abundance.
Psalm 66:12 (NIV)

As we go through times where it is as if we are going through ‘fire and water’ … the best thing we can do for ourselves is keep our eyes on our future.

What God has in store for us if we are obedient to Him, stay aligned and become more humble, is this place of abundance. There is a reward. There is a purpose.

God has His purposes. The more time we spend with Him, the more we get to know Him, the better we can see what lies ahead…or the meaning in the hardship … and oftentimes these are the places where His secrets and mysteries are revealed to us.

In Daniel, we see King Nebuchadnezzar troubled by the meaning of a dream. Daniel comes in describing God as a revealer of mysteries. (Daniel 2:28). To be with God…in His holy presence, when He is revealing mysteries to you …. there is no better place. I cannot imagine it any more fulfilling or rewarding than that. For God to speak and reveal hidden things, and to be communing with Him in that place.

I think that is why I love worship so much. I cannot explain the feeling of improvisational worship … of flowing with the presence and anointing of God in your midst. There is nothing greater. For this reason, I can imagine being in heaven and just worshiping God.. though that is not all that I believe we will do.

Awe-inspiring.

To go through things, with God. That He is allowing to happen.

King Nebuchadnezzar was being warned in His dream, that He was going to go through ‘seven times’ …basically discarded from his current place of dominion. Until he could humble himself before God and repent.

May we be quick to repent, and get on our face before God.

And as I said yesterday, “We can choose His way, consistently and reach our destination quickly and with ease.” The post is It’s in His awe-inspiring hands.

I want to go God’s way .. I want to experience the depths of His love and mercy. And to listen has He reveals mysteries. Amen!

Anyone there with me?

It's in His awe-inspiring hands.

16Rejoice always, 17pray continually, 18give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
19Do not quench the Spirit. 20Do not treat prophecies with contempt 21but test them all; hold on to what is good, 22reject every kind of evil.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-22 (NIV)

God wins.

Every day we have a choice, a semblance of choices. We can choose God’s will or our own. Not choosing God’s way, can be a sense of duty … another’s opinion … our own selfish desires. Whatever we choose sets the tone and trajectory for life continuing.

We can choose His way, consistently and reach our destination quickly and with ease. Or we can waver and be confused, and not really seem to ever go anywhere. Lastly, we can rebel, and run in any direction except God’s will. When we do this, sometimes God comes after us and we get aligned … and sometimes the rebellion is strong that it leads to death.

Always, always choose what is right. Choose to do what is best in His eyes. As I learned as a young child….God is omnipotent, omnipresent, omniscient. He is everywhere, knows everything and is all-powerful. It’s kind of irrational to go any way, except His way! 😉

And we know that God causes everything to work together for the good of those who love God and are called according to his purpose for them. Romans 8:28

Some verses about God’s will for us : Bible Hub #beencouraged!

 

Things Change!

In God, whose word I praise, in God I trust; I shall not be afraid. What can flesh do to me?
Psalm 56:4

Hey Everybody,

This marks a difference in the posts here on out.

I’ve been praying, and am being led by the Holy Spirit to speak more about myself, and my life.

Please connect. Please feel free to comment. Please … I hope you Enjoy!!
Firstly, I’d like to tell you of some of the patterns and essential testimonies of the handful of close and godly friendships I have.

1. We have been encountering God clearly saying “Let it go.” Usually this is in regards to difficult situations where a person (like myself) might react emotionally in a situation .. or even try to fix it.

What we have been finding is that God is wanting to take over. God is handling situations that previously … were difficult.

Also, by letting it go .. we essentially release control to Him. So we don’t get in the middle of it and perhaps muddy or even..mess up the waters. As you well know, God can handle everything…but sometimes we can get in the way. Letting it go … allows us to see His hand move, to see Him making changes in those around us, without any doing on our part … except for important and simple aspects of obedience.

It is not easy to learn these things… it is actually, testing… in terms of character, and willingness to submit to God’s will and ways. I guess this is a test of pride, as well … it certainly is humbling, as well as awe-inspiring to see things changing so dramatically and quickly.

Lastly, I want to say .. and ask… if you are experiencing this in any way, shape, or form, I’d really appreciate you writing a little bit and sharing with me and everyone else. God bless!

#weAreinexcitingtimes !

Happy Easter!!

so that, “‘they may be ever seeing but never perceiving, and ever hearing but never understanding; otherwise they might turn and be forgiven!'”
Mark 4:12

This verse is taken as Jesus is saying to His twelve disciples .. you’ve been given the secret of the kingdom of God. Others have not. Then He comments saying..don’t you understand this parable? The parable He has shared is that of the Sower and the Seed.

Jesus goes on with more parables, each time repeating “If anyone has ears to hear, let him hear.” First the Lamp on a Stand (vs 21), then the Growing Seed (vs 26), then the Mustard Seed (vs 30).

Based on these stories, I begin to wonder…how much is our own choice? It isn’t .. I choose for my ears to listen..but rather..I choose, and then I work on it.
Satan comes to destroy the plant … but there is a seeking or a desire that must be nurtured. If the enemy comes to destroy your vision or purpose… you need to have a desire to continue. You need to foster that passion so that you keep running, even when you get discouraged or it looks so much greater than your own ability.

In the past, I read these parables from the angle of what I had to do. I had to be able to win. I had to be able to overcome. I had to be strong and be the lamp on the stand…not let anyone hide me under a basket, or a bowl, or a bed.
But no…. now I realize… if I keep my eyes on God, all these things fall away. The seed keeps growing, the plant keeps growing, the lamp keeps shining .. the only question is for how long. For how long will we let the passion burn … how much ‘fight’ do we have within us. Are we going to keep running when it seems like everyone else is taking a break? Or are we going to look around and say, I’m alone … I don’t want to try this anymore. Whatever.

I think… as this is a journey .. each for him or herself, we each have our own duty to ourselves to run this race as hard and as far as we can. There should be no … looking to the side, who is with me…just…am I right with God? Am I aligned? Can I do any better? And then to watch and see His hand move, to create opportunities or even change the way the race looks.

Life is exciting if we’ll just hang on and run with Him!!!

PURPOSE! Don't fight God ;)

For if their purpose or activity is of human origin, it will fail. But if it is from God, you will not be able to stop these men; you will only find yourselves fighting against God.
Acts 5:38-39 (NIV)

I enjoy reading this sort of encouragement….that if you are aligned with God, you cannot fail! And that everyone should be aligned with God .. because if you aren’t, you could be fighting against Him.