Faith

Meekness Not En Vogue 

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In a world that understands power, influence and material wealth, self-assertion is king. Jesus’ words were completely counter cultural to the crowds around Him. But it’s even more so in our society today. 

 

“Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” Matthew 5: 5

 

It takes no great cognition to understand that meekness requires humility, but some may not yet understand the distinction between these two virtues. 

Essentially, humility is an inward virtue or characteristic, while meekness is an outward demonstration of the humility one possesses within. We are meek toward others. While, humility is more in keeping with our personal view of self. Romans 12; 2b ‘’Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you. In other words, be humble. BTW, to God, the measure of your greatness is the size of your faith.

Note how this verse confirms (along with other passages) that faith comes from God. Salvation is of the Lord, even the part about us having faith. It too, is a gift from God. And yet, we are responsible to nurture the faith He’s given us that it may grow. But back to meekness. 

A meek soul will lift up and edify others. Meekness, restrains one’s own power, in order to make room for others, so that they can use their gifts, talents and abilities too. For example, I’m good at cooking, but that doesn’t mean I have to be the one to cook every time we have a church dinner. Others know how to cook too. 

It often helps to understand a concept by looking at its opposite. The opposite of showing meekness can be perceived in people who must always control others, and constantly be the one in charge, vaunting themselves over others, demanding that others capitulate to their way of thinking and their self-perceived superiority, which is usually quite false. Itthe assertion of one’s will over others, or being demanding. Basically, these are narcissists. The outworking of narcissism is antithetical to the actions of meekness. 

 

The Promised Reward for Meekness 

When eternity is ushered in, there will be new heavens and a new earth. It is this new eternal earth which the meek shall inherit as a reward that will last forever. The entire earth will be ours. There will be no narcissistic behavior, nor greed in eternity. All may own the same thing and be perfectly at peace with being a co-owner of all things along with Christ and all of the redeemed. No competition, no disputes, and no pride or arrogance. Everyone there will be both humble and meek. What a wonderfully awesome existence we will have in eternity! 

Categories: Bible, Christian Doctrine, Christian Living, Faith, Jesus, Stuff God Teaches, The future, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

God Knows

By studying history and being armed with the pertinent data, we possibly could apply deductive reasoning to predict certain aspects of what the future might hold. And yet those two words “possibly” and “might” remind us that we have no capacity to know the future with any semblance of certainty. The unknown has long been deemed a frightful thing to many. But we don’t have to fear the unknowns of our future, because we have a transcendent God who know all things, past, present and future.

“I know who holds the future, and I know He holds my hand.” From the Hymn “Because He Lives”..

I like the way a poet worded it in 1908 in one of her popular works.

And so, I found this New Year poem written by Minnie Louise Haskins, published in 1912. King George VI brought the piece to the fore by quoting it in his 1939 Christmas address to the nation. It was titled “God Knows” by the author, but made popular under the title The Gate of the Year. Enjoy!

 

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THE GATE OF THE YEAR

‘God Knows’

And I said to the man who stood at the gate of the year:
“Give me a light that I may tread safely into the unknown.”
And he replied:
“Go out into the darkness and put your hand into the Hand of God.faith, unseen,
That shall be to you better than light and safer than a known way.”
So I went forth, and finding the Hand of God, trod gladly into the night.
And He led me towards the hills and the breaking of day in the lone East.

So heart be still:
What need our little life
Our human life to know,
If God hath comprehension?
In all the dizzy strife
Of things both high and low,
God hideth His intention.

God knows. His will
Is best. The stretch of years
Which wind ahead, so dim
To our imperfect vision,
Are clear to God. Our fears
Are premature; In Him,
All time hath full provision.

Then rest: until
God moves to lift the veil
From our impatient eyes,
When, as the sweeter features
Of Life’s stern face we hail,
Fair beyond all surmise
God’s thought around His creatures
Our mind shall fill. 

Categories: Christian Living, Christmas, Faith, New Year, Poem, Poetry, The future, The Unknown, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Worship

Worship the LORD in the splendor of his holiness;

tremble before him, all the earth.

Psalm 96:9

 

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A common misconception among Christians is that music & singing is Worship. Certainly, these are expressions of worship, but true worship takes place in the heart and mind.

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Worship is adoring God, praising Him, being grateful to Him, loving Him. There are many ways to express this worship, just as there are many ways to express love for your spouse. If a man gives his wife flowers, certainly we look and say, “See, look, he loves her.” But the flowers are not the love itself, they are an expression of the love.

Our faith nurtures love for God, and we express that love in the way we live and by what we say to Him and how we want to please Him. When we assemble to worship and praise God He is pleased. Sing to the Lord, tell of His excellent greatness!

I suppose we could add a bottom line here. Yes, God loves music that honors Him. But it is the heart and attitude behind our singing and music that He’s looking at. Blessings.

Categories: Christian Doctrine, Church, Faith, Uncategorized, Worship | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Jesus Offers Refreshment

 

“For your heavenly Father knoweth that you have need of all these things.

Matthew 6:32b KJV

 

In downtown Indianapolis my wife, Becca and I often spotted a homeless man with a long beard who had a mental and emotional disability. Even though the summer heat was sweltering, he wore an extremely dirty, torn up insulated jacket. He always carried nine or ten of those plastic grocery bags stuffed with all sorts of things tearing through the thin plastic. The man would stand for hours and hours in the sun, holding those bags and sweating.

We had to wonder at why he didn’t set the bags down; maybe sit himself down in the shade, and rest. Whenever we attempted to hand him a few dollars, he would simply wave us off. After many attempts to speak with the quiet fellow, we could never get a response from him. The only thing we could do for him was pray.

I think God sometimes views us in the same way that Becca and I would view that poor mentally challenged man. Often we may we carry a load of burdens, worries and fears, but refuse to come to the Lord to receive the rest and refreshing He provides. We struggle with problems that, to God are so simple to solve. He has all the strength and wisdom we could ever need, along with the solution to our difficulties, and yet, we continue to struggle and sweat.

 

Coming into God’s presence is like stepping out of the sweltering heat and into the
refreshing shade. When we release our burdens and difficfulties, setting them at the feet of Jesus, we find rest for our souls.

In His arms of care there’s comfort, direction, peace and purpose.

 

After seeing that same fellow downtown dozens of times, always in the same clothes and with that heavy, tattered coat, one day we were pleasantly surprised. It was last August that elation filled our hearts when we saw that very same man, but we barely recognised him. There he was in the same spot we’d seen him many times before, but he looked totally different. He had on a new, clean set of clothing and was clean shaven. He’d even  received a haircut. And he wasn’t carrying a thing! Becca and I looked at each other with big grins spreading across our faces. We both had the same thought and actually said it simultaneously.

“It had to be Jesus!” The obvious transformation in that man looked to us like it had the Lord’s fingerprints all over it.

 

The following week we we’re finally able to communicate with him. He informed us that his name is Walter.

I told him, “You’re really looking good today, Walter.”

He responded, “Thank you. It sure is a nice day that God has given us, isn’t it?”

The conversation continued, but we won’t get into that. Suffice it to say that the conversation is still ongoing whenever we are blessed to see Walter, our new friend. He even let’s us buy him a cold drink and donuts at at local coffee shop, where the three of us sit together, and talk about Jesus.

 

“Casting all your care upon him; for he careth for you.”

1 Peter 5:7 KJV

Categories: Christian Living, Faith, Jesus, People, Street witnessing, Testimony, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Assurance of Salvation

Have you ever had a flicker of doubt over your salvation, wondering if you’re truly in the faith that saves? 

This message is mainly for those whove made a confession of faith in Jesus Christ as their Savior, and accepted Him as the Lord (Master) of their lives.  And yes, we’ve been obedient to Him in Christian baptism as well. Yet there are numerous passages of scripture in the bible that should concern usthings Jesus Himself spoke, which clearly indicate that many people will think they are saved, when they are not. Some have a false assurance of salvation. I’ll offer just one biblical example here out of many scriptures from which we could choose, just to show there is such a thing as false assurance 

 

“Many will say to me on that day, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name and in your name drive out demons and in your name perform many miracles?’ Then I will tell them plainly, “I never knew you. Away from me, you evildoers!” Matthew 7:22-23 

 

Here’s a few others for those who may want to look them up. Luke 13:25-27, 2 Peter 3:17, James 2:18-20 & Hebrews 12:14.

 

So, what is a sure self-test to make certain we are in the faith? I believe there’s a few different ways we could evaluate our standing before God. Such as: what spiritual fruit are we producing? But I believe the following is the surest test of all. 

 

Most every Christian can tell you what Jesus said when He was asked ‘What is the greatest command in the bible?’ Because keeping it, along with the 2nd greatest command, will bring the whole of our lives into harmony with God’s desire for us. “Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. And the second is like it, “you shall love your neighbor as yourself.”
 

I’m confident to emphatically and didactically state that the number one defining characteristic of a Christian is love for Christ Jesus.  (The true biblical Jesus)

 

Real Christians will always love God, and yet not a single one of us love Him perfectly. I like the admonition Dr. John MacArthur employs in his book, “Christ’s Call to Reform the Church.” He writes, “While the genuine believer will always love the Lord, the intensity of his love can fluctuate over time. The redeemed person’s love for Christ must be carefully guarded and nurtured, or it will diminish with time.” 

 

How well I’ve noted this truth in my own relationship with our Savior. Every relationship must be deliberately cultivated and fed, or else our affection will atrophy and shrivel up like a muscle long unused. We don’t want to allow our love for Jesus to cool. Remember what our now glorified Christ said when writing to one of the 7 church’s in RevelationI know your deeds; you are neither cold nor hot. How I wish you were one or the other! So because you are lukewarm— neither hot nor cold— I am about to vomit you out of My mouth!” 

 

While He was on earth Jesus said, “Whoever is not with me is against me, and whoever does not gather with me scatters.” Matthew 12:30 

 

Our Lord makes it clear that a definite decision must be made, because he doesn’t tolerate fence riders, or those with one foot in and one foot out. 

 

Neither does Jesus soft pedal when He shows us what a true love for Him looks like. Those who accept my commandments and obey them are the ones who love me. And because they love me, my Father will love them. And I will love them and reveal myself to each of them.” Jn 14:21 NLT 

 

I’ve always cherished the promise that comes at the end of that verse. I’ve put it to the test and God is always faithful to keep His word—He’s revealed Himself and His love for me in ways that only He could know to do, based upon my individual personality and even on my idiosyncrasies. He knows me better than I do. What an awesome God! He will do the same for each of us. 

 

A truly redeemed soul soon discovers the bible to be the authoritative word of God. Naturally, love for His word becomes a distinctive characteristic of Christians also. The bible is authoritative above the church and above every person on earth. 

 

Do we have an intense burning desire to please God? Do we hate sin and love righteousness? Do we sincerely weep over our sinful failures as we confess them to Him? That’s called a godly sorrow. But He’s so patient and forgiving! He takes my sorrow over the times I mess up and transforms it into supernatural joy! Do we really strive for obedience to Jesus? If so, we have genuine assurance of salvation and our names are engraved upon His palmswe are forever His.

 

Categories: Christian Living, Discipleship, Faith, Salvation, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Marks of a True Disciple

 

Prologue

There are those who may not know the benefits of being a disciple of Christ—the sweetness of life He affords. How could they fathom the depths of love, as rich deposits of precious ore to treasure up through their relationship with Him? If only they knew the provision of every need, and fulfillment of every purified desire. They haven’t yet experienced the assurance of hope and the spiritual wisdom—the perfect guidance. Never once having tasted of a joy that’s genuinely supernatural, nor the fulfilling contentment and peace of righteousness.

 

 Fair Warning

 

To some folks this straight-shooting post of biblical truth may sound extreme, difficult, even ominous. The time for sugar coating has passed, and I must be bold as instructed. I pray for courage. Others will nod in recognition of biblical truth, with joy, and they too may discover new areas of their lives that the Spirit now desires to take possession of, for Jesus.

 

Marks of a True Disciple

 

In the Gospel we find the word disciple used for three different groups of people. There were the curious ones responding to all the hubbub, as people tend to do. Or maybe, they came to hear what Jesus had to say. Yet once they understood the demands Christ makes upon His followers, they’re the ones who went away and “walked with Him no more” (John 6:66). Others were intellectually convinced, but they lacked the kind of faith that saves, so they, too, stopped following as soon as they realized Jesus was not doing what they expected Him to do. They looked for the restoration of the earthly kingdom to its former glory, as when David and Solomon reigned. Thay watched for the Messiah to take the throne as Israel’s Sovereign. There were few who went all the way with Jesus, but these… they are His true disciples.

 

To be quite direct, what Christ asks of those who believe on Him is a total and complete submission to Him—the same submission a slave gives to His master. Most were not ready for such a heavy sacrifice.

 

 

The High Cost of Being a Disciple 

 

  1. Obedient to the word of God: A true disciple sinks his roots down into the word of God, so that by the bible he’s guided, directed, nourished and supported by, as well as being empowered by the Spirit to obey.
  2. Surrenders all to Christ: Self must be placed upon the altar and sacrificed: a denial of self. All that a person is changes through yielding up their own will in favor of God’s will. They also surrender their bodies, their intellect and their emotions to Him.
  3. Loves: A disciple always yearns and strives to love like Jesus, exhibiting an unselfish response to human needs. They demonstrate the same kind of love Christ has shown to them. Jesus became not only a servant, but the suffering servant of all. He doesn’t simply tell them how to be, He lives it, shows it, as He often demonstrated, like washing the disciple’s feet, and then dying for them. He is the perfect paradigm. Awesomely, the One they’re to model their lives after always walks with them, empowering them unto goodness.
  4. Is a good Steward.  A servant is well aware that everything he has was provided by His Lord, hence his Lord has the right to everything he has. Most will soon learn that they simply cannot out give God. Jesus takes good care of His own, and the Father provides for every need.
  5. Hold themselves accountable to God for every thought, word, action, purchase, and every moment of time. These too are aspects of stewardship.
  6. Christ has right to be worshippedHe’s God. The Lord now has rights over the entire person: their body, their intellect, emotions, will, and possessions. All of their rights as a person must be surrendered to Him—all that they are and all that they have.  Christ is supremely trustworthy to hold and protect His disciple’s rights.

 

  • Jesus usually requires the sacrifice of something that’s precious to the individual. “Do you love Me more than this?” God may ask.
  • What He gives in return is always a great deal better than what was given up for Him.
  • Often, it’s a test of faith—faith will be tried and tested, tempered, stretched and grown.

 

Jesus’ call to discipleship says, 

“Give up your rights to yourself, your own will, your own way, submit to me as your Master.”

“If you try to hang on to your life, you will lose it. But if you give up your life for my sake and for the sake of the Good News, you will save it.” Mark 8:35 NLT

 

 

 

Categories: Christian Doctrine, Christian Living, Discipleship, Doctrine, Faith, God's Kingdom, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Life’s Interruptions

Life has a way of interrupting our plans as unforeseen events crash down on us. The things we hoped to do, maybe even said we’d do, are necessarily pushed aside to take care of the unexpected. Our flight from the airport is delayed, or a major traffic accident puts us an hour behind schedule. Illness can sideline us without warning. So how do we prepare for something we don’t know’s coming? I rely on my faith in God and rest in knowing He has things well in hand.

 

I recall a time I was slated to build a cascading water fountain and falls on a client’s luxurious property. Getting ready to load up the truck, I realized there’d been a break-in the night before. Most of the tools I needed for the job had been stolen and it took most of that day to replace them. At first I was frantic, worried I’d lose the job. As it turned out, the next day my client discovered a new design he preferred over the original we’d decided upon. If I’d have begun the job on schedule, I’d have dug and poured the shape he no longer wanted. That would have required tearing it apart and beginning over again, wasting both time and materials.

 

We never know when sudden happenstances may interpose between us and our plans, commanding our attention. We need to remain aware that God may have other plans for us, to help grow us into more mature followers of Jesus. It tests and deepens our faith.

 

The unpredictable happened to me in a big way about a month ago. It has impacted this very blog. That’s why I sense a responsibility to my faithful readers to share the reason why our last series temporarily came to a screaching halt. I’ll offer the details on that momentarily.

 

I’ve sub-titled this site “Spirit Writer” with a definite purpose in mind. It forces me to continue growing and to discover new truths to share. I strive to remain spiritually relevant in my writing, hoping to offer nuggets of help to better equip us all for everything life may throw at us.

Thank you for walking along with me as I learn. My readers teach me a lot, and for that I’m very grateful. Besides that, I hope to build up, or edify the faith of my readers.

 

Prayerfully, I share what I pray the Spirit of Christ is leading me to write. I want to be a blessing and shine the light of God’s love to the world—the light He’s shared with me. It’s my hope that every soul would experience the joys of drawing ever closer to our awesome God. I have nothing special that nobody else has access to through an obedient relationship with Jesus. And yet, God’s word and His Holy Spirit compel me to extol the glories of God, to share the gospel of Christ, and to express His love that He’s planted in my heart. There’s help from God available for every situation in life. He confirmed this to me while giving me the strength to endure and the comfort I needed through a terrible freak accident.

 

Here’s What Happened

 

Being a care giver at home for my wife, Becca, offers many oppotunities for those unexpected events to throw a wrench into my plans. Becca was crossing the street at an intersection, gimping along with her rolling walker. She was heading to a little corner market that has all sorts of little goodies that women get excited about. It doesn’t matter that I have no idea why she likes that stuff, as long as it makes her happy. Suddenly, a big truck laden with scrap metals to be recycled came screeching around the corner. On top of the load were a pile of unsecured car batteries. The centrifigal force of a quick right turn slung the batteries off the back of the truck. Becca said they were like killer bowling balls speeding towards her, and she couldn’t get out of the way in time.

 

One of the heavy batteries bowled her over while another smashed down on her ankle, crushing several bones, another battery took out the walker. Thank God one didn’t hit her in the head. There she lay in the middle of the intersection, struggling to get up and out of the traffic which kept swerving around her. The truck never even slowed down or looked back, but kept going. Finally a bystander helped her to the curb. None of the witnesses took down a tag nunber of the offending vehicle; neither could they offer a description of the truck.

 

It took reconstructive surgery and a very long screw up through Becca’s heel bone to knit her ankle back together. I praise God they were able to fix her up. She’d just recovered from another major operation, during which she almost died twice. Now this.

A few days ago Becca arrived back home once again. She spent weeks at the same rehabilitation center she was at just a few months ago. Things are finally getting back to normal.

 

Taking care of my disabled wife takes priority over everything else, including this blog. You are all very important to me, and yet the Lord indicates that I should take care of my own household above all else. So I’m back, praise God!

 

I believe everything that happens in life is allowed by God, for a specific purpose. Both the good and the bad, just as Romans 8:28 teaches us.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. 

 

I don’t have to know the reason why this happened, because I trust that God is good, and that He has His reasons for allowing bad things to take place. Now to get back to work on what we we’re talking about before I was sidelined…LORD WILLING! He’s teaching me that when, either making, or announcing my plans, I should always make room for unexpected interruptions and include those two words: “Lord willing.”

Stay Blessed.

 

 

Categories: Accidents, Christian Living, Faith, God's timing, Growing in Faith, Schedules, The unexpected, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The New Heart God Promised

 

Praise God for His holy word, the bible. Thank God for His Holy Spirit who lives inside us. And as previously stated, I thank God for the multitude of wonderfully adept bible expositors and preachers that God has provided us. We’re left with no excuses to offer: “Lord, I didn’t understand.” Or, “How was I supposed to know what You wanted me to do?” Even on earth they say ignorance is no excuse. God has made these things clear to us and revealed Himself through His Son and the bible. So let’s continue studying God’s word while listening to those biblically sound teachers and preachers.

 

God revealed to me how there are three things that must take place before anyone is even capable of becoming a faithful, fruitful, and productive follower of Jesus. And to live for the Kingdom of God.

  1. We must know and understand God’s; will, plan, purposes and promises.
  2. We must love God, His will, plan, purposes and promises.
  3. And finally, we must actively engage God’s will, plan, purposes and promises.  

 

There is, however, a huge problem that effectively precludes all people from being able to do these three all important things. In our unsaved state—the condition into which people are born, we are sinful at the core, having our very nature corrupted. Mankind cannot understand things in the spiritual realm, and God is Spirit. The will of mankind has been rendered rotten by the affects of sin and the curse. In our natural inward persons, we’re not capable of doing these three things. I can unequivocally and didactically state such. That’s why we must first be born again, born of the Spirit, and given a new heart—the bible very clearly teaches this.

 

“But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.” 1 Corinthians 2:14

Here’s the same verse in the NIV, which might be a little easier to understand.

“The person without the Spirit does not accept the things that come from the Spirit of God but considers them foolishness, and cannot understand them because they are discerned only through the Spirit.” 1 Corinthians 2:14 NIV

 

We need God’s Holy Spirit, AKA Spirit of Christ living inside us before we can do those 3 things. And we cannot have the Spirit, unless we have placed our faith and trust in Christ Jesus and been saved. We also confess Him before others and are baptised, demonstrating our faith in and obedience to Him.

 

In the bible, the heart refers to human will—man’s desires.

Humankind’s will is faulty. We need a new will, a new heart. This is what God has promised to do for us! if we will simply believe on the Lord Jesus Christ: “I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit in you; I will remove from you your heart of stone and give you a heart of flesh.” Ezekiel 36:26 (See also John 3:3, 2 Cor. 3:3)

 

Only then, are we finally capable of learning, embracing and doing the will of our Creator and God, who loves us beyond comprehension.

 

We must be radically changed in our nature. We are freed from slavery to sin by denying our old sinful nature, which is self-centered, and, by receiving the power of God’s Spirit inside.

Our God has placed moral obligations upon us, and we’ll never be able to keep those obligations until we are converted. We become a new creature, and God, through regeneration places a new nature in us, and gives us;

  1. A new motivation
  2. A new desire
  3. A new understanding
  4. And a new power! He dwells in us.
  5. And a New Life in Christ!

 

We did not have to work for our salvation, nor for our new heart. It was impossible for us to earn or merit God’s amazing grace. But from here on out, there’s lots of work for us to do, the first of which is to learn how to think with our new heart. Our old way of thinking must be placed upon the altar and sacrificed to Jesus Christ. He gave Himself for us, now, He shares Himself (His character and power) with us. We give ourselves to Him—deny self, take up our crosses and follow as He leads. This is absolutely essential to living the good, productive Christian life Jesus wants to help us gain. God wants us to be fruitful.

 

Jude 1:24 “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to make you stand in the presence of His glory blameless with great joy.” 

Categories: Christian Doctrine, Christian Living, Faith, God's Kingdom, God's Will, new nature, Salvation, sin nature, Uncategorized, Wisdom & Discernment | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

The World Needs More Kindness

“Everyone you meet is facing a battle you know nothing about, so be kind.”

That’s the admonishment we hear promulgated. The bible says to be kind. Through our life experiences we discern how well this rings with authenticity. But, I decided to test the veracity of that adage anyway, and the results were amazing. I became inclucated with an awareness that I’m not as informed about people as I previously believed.

 

In my quest to know things, as usual, I learned how far less I actually discern about people. To me, my friends were the obvious choice for study subjects, and I was jolted to discover important things about them I never knew before. It took some dilligent, yet gentle persuading to get some of them to open up to me in this way—to expose and share their vulnerabilities. I reciprocated with my own personal stuff—secret hurts. The blossoming of our resulting relationships has now filled our hearts with the essence of love, understanding and acceptance towards one another. The investigation was small in number, only seven people, eight, counting myself. What I’m about to share is highly personal, so I’ve given my solemn word to maintain their anonymity. That’s why I’ve assigned each of them a pseudonym.

 

I had no idea of the fear that my friend, Marci faces every day.  At 15 years-old, a male relative abused her trust, along with her diminuitive body. Many years later she still has difficulty trusting anyone at all. It hinders her relationships, and because she’s aware of that fact, she often cries herself to sleep. But if you met her, you’d think she was a highly confident and an easily entreated person—trusting even. Marci is kind to a fault, and she loves helping people. Every time she sees me, I know there’s a compliment coming my way—just a really sweet woman.

 

Russell is one of those nerdy guys you’d expect to meet at a gaming convention. The golden thumbed player holds several high score records on half a dozen video games. Kindness emanates from his presence. At the young age of ten, Russell’s father was killed while serving in Afghanistan. The boy retreated into the gaming world in search of solace. Today in his thirties, he seems closed off from people, unless they engage with him first. Then, he’s highly personable, obviously in search of acceptance.

 

Phillip fled from drug cartels in his country of origin, who had put out a kill order on him. He was accepted into the U.S. as a refugee, and I understand he also helped the DEA with information on the cartel. I didn’t know that, and I’ve been his friend for 8 years.

 

Life of the party types, both Marty and Allison suffer from deep bouts with depression and anxiety. They’ve both lost jobs because of it, and both said they feel a need to keep most people distant from them. You’d never surmise as much by speaking with them, or by being a casual friend, as I was: they’re both great at concealing their horrendous dilemmas. It’s not brought on because of any cirmustances—it’s a chemical imbalance, and medications only seem to make it worse. I’m so grateful to have become closer with these two beautiful souls.

 

Finally, Tina indicated her constant paralyzing fear of rejection. As a child her mother abandoned her at age two, and her father abused drugs and is still addicted to Meth. Made to feel worthless, Tina has difficulty understanding her value as a human being. Everyone deserves to be loved, accepted and cared for. But she never tells anyone about this. Silently she suffers, while her feelings of inferiority grow, being confirmed daily by mean spiritted people who only care about themselves.

 

Yes, everyone is fighting a battle of some sort. I’m fighting my own. What if all of us were to double our efforts to be kind, understanding, and caring with everyone we meet? Can we each do our part to make other people’s lives a little easier? I promise to double my own efforts. This world has plenty of hatred, judgment and animosity. What it needs is more love, and shiploads of kindness.

 

(The Bible teaching series entreating us to Join God’s Plan, promises to get good!)

Next time. Love.

 

 

Categories: Christian Living, depression, Faith, Fighting a battle, Good People, Kindness to strangers, Love, Ministry, People, Self Improvement, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

God’s Will For You II

2nd intro: An Inside Track on God’s Plan — Partnering with Christ 

Jesus wants you and I to have an inside track into heaven’s operations here on earth. He wants us to know and understand His plan. You and I are like the soldiersonly, in this army, the top brass invites all soldiers to see and understand a whole lot of the strategy and plan. When I was in the U.S. Army, officers didn’t tell us soldiers anything, except to bark orders at us.  

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Christ Jesus affords discernment to know how to walk in the Spirit, which, basically, is obeying/doing God’s will. After our salvation has been obtained, we develop a deep desire to please our Lord. It’s a love relationship. We then secure the requisite changes in who we are, through the step by step training God’s word affordsThe problem is, the bible isn’t always easy to understand, and that’s why we need good bible teachers. The Spirit will confirm our understanding of truth. 

God does mighty works in us, so that He can then do mighty works through our lives. That’s what He wants to do, and that’s a part of His will for each of us.  S.B.

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Dr. Lehman Strauss

Even though we’re still in the introduction phase of this series, you’ll note nuggets of truths from the bible that we’ll want to treasure up in our hearts, so we can be mentally prepared to garner the greatest benefit from the much meatier things to come. Milk first, meat later. 

 

ENTRY 

 “Not everyone that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” Matthew 7:21  

Here, Jesus makes it abundantly clear that true salvation always  will result in obedience to the will of God. If we’re to be obedient to God’s will, we certainly must know what His will consists of.  

 

So if we’re not at least seeking God’s will, wanting to know the next step in His plan for us corporately and as individuals, how can we believe we have a close relationship with Him? 

 

It’s important that we’re all on the same page in our understanding of what we mean by “God’s will.” There are different aspects to His will. Each of these facets fit together to form God’s ever unfolding plan from eternity past, which impacts the present, and reveals eternity future. His plan (God’s will) was developed before He created thworld, as we see revealed throughout scripture (e.g., 1st Peter 1:20).  

Sometimes I may interchange the words, God’s “will” with God’s “plan” as well as God’s “purposes.” And let’s not forget the awesome promises He’s made concerning His plan. Here are some of the different aspects of God’s will, each of which will be examined according to their component parts. But we want to focus on numbers 6, 7 & 8. 

 

  1. The redemption of man 
  2. God’s eternal kingdom 
  3. God’s purpose for allowing the existence of wickedness 
  4. God’s promises to us for life on this earth 
  5. God’s promises to us for eternity 
  6. Our transformation into children like Jesus 
  7. The church’s role in His plan on earth today 
  8. Your role as an individual Saint 

 

I’ll be setting forth and expounding scriptures in an attempt to reveal how all of God’s plan fits together. I did not come up with all of this on my own. I’ll be drawing from bible lessons of 27 Doctors of Theology. God has used a plethora of blessed saints to assist my understanding.  It’s important for each of us to find good sound bible teachers whom we can trust. There are lots of them out there who surpass my abilities by leaps and bounds. But God has called me to put this together using my unique way of presenting the truths of His word. Recently I’ve been studying under several dozen leading bible professors who truly walk what they talk. And you can do the same. I highly recommend BBN’s Bible Institute. It’s free!  

BBN Radio

Oh, how I praise God for the collection of Godly men who teach those lessons! What a tremendous blessing it has been to my relationship with Jesus, and also to my comprehension. Out of the 3 dozen or so collection of courses I’ve been through, BBN’s BI is at the top of the list for learnability. The Bible Institute is merely one of many online resources to find trusted conference speakers, seminary professors, bible expositors and wonderful pastors. I myself have been a sub-shepherd under Christ and serving a growing congregation for over 9 years now. I have another pastor over me, and also a chief elder. Thank you, Jesus—I’m so blessed! 

 

Please understand, it’s not my intention to tell you what Christ’s specific will is for your unique service in God’s plan. Each of us must do what is needed for God Himself to show us how we, individually, fit into the overall plan. I will, however, walk you through the steps of how to discover that for yourself.  

 

But the majority of God’s will is universal for all who are saved. Such as His plan for Jesus’ church. It’s God’s will that we all love one another, that we all become more like Jesus, and that we encourage and edify one another. It’s God’s will for every believer to share the gospel with others—He’s going to teach us what to say.  The steps, and acts of obedience, which lead to accomplishing these and many other things, are the same for everyone. But He has a special plan just for you too. It’s highly specific to the talents he’s progrmmed into your DNA. Once we start doing it, WOW! We receive a tremendous sense of purpose and draw great delight from Him.

 

 I heard Dr. Howard Hendricks say: 

 

“Prayer is the hand of faith that translates God’s promises into performances.”  

 

I mention that quote because each action we’ll need to take, and which we’ll be talking about here, is; preceded by prayer, activated by prayer, and performed during prayer. This makes understanding prayer a vital, and valuable parallel study for discerning and doing God’s will. Without communicating with God, we cannot, and will not, know and understand God’s will, nor His plan. 

 

As an example of God’s promises, here’s one you’ve probably heard before. Take delight in the LORD, and he will give you the desires of your heart. Psalm 37:4 

If we’d like to understand how we could possibly have everything our heart desires, this study is for us. This delight in Him, it’s like a secret key. When the way God thinks is delightful to us, He offers more understanding. And when His laws, His holiness and righteousness become delightful to us, our level of wisdom takes a giant leap upward. And since our desires will then be in harmony with His desires, we receive everything we desire. Our desire will be for God’s will to be done. Being united with Christ is very delightful.

Two important points 

  1. God teaches us in increments—bits at a time.  
  2. We will not move forward in understanding, until we’ve been obedient to what He’s already revealed to us (let that sink in). 

 

If anyone, then, knows the good they ought to do and doesn’t do it, it is sin for them. James 4:17 

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Dr. Stephan Davey

The way we come to love the will of God is by obeying it—doing it. The result is stupendous joy! and great discernment! We begin to see God’s purposes, even in the really horrible things that happens on planet earth. When we obey (do) God’s will we experience the results—the wisdom of His will. Before we can actually experience God’s will, we must do it. Before we can do His will, we must know what it is. And before we can know what it is, we must trust it. Faith in God, is trust in God and in His infallible, authoritative word: the bible. Each one in succession is a prerequisite for the next. 

 

Proverbs 3:5-6  “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not to your own understanding. In all your ways acknowledge Him, and he shall direct your paths.”  

 

 

From these two verses we learn four dynamic truths. As you read each numbered point, go back to the verses and absorb them again.

  1. We must trust God implicitly. 
  2. We cannot trust our own thinking without Him leading our thoughts (I will demonstrate how this is unequivocal, using many clear scriptures). 
  3. Our relationship with God is to impact the way we do anything and everything. We acknowledge Him in every decision we make and every action we take. 
  4. God will show us the way we are to proceed, each and every step of the way. 

 

But there’s a pitfall to watch out for. 

 

It’s in our human nature to become proud of our spiritual knowledge, and pride is always destructive to the human heart. God had revealed so many things to the Apostle Paul to pass on to us, that the Lord allowed Satan to inflict him with a thorn in the flesh, to keep him humble. In 2 Corinthians 12:7 Paul writes: “…Because of these surpassingly great revelations, therefore, in order to keep me from becoming conceited, I was given a thorn in my flesh, a messenger of Satan, to torment me.” 

 

That’s very revealing to us. It’s something we need to pay attention to, because pride will also halt our learning—our inculcation of God’s program. Our goal is to remain plugged into His power and wisdom, and continue growing in understanding and doing His will, working in partnership with Christ Jesus. 

Yes, we will make mistakes and come unplugged every once in a while, but we simply confess our sin, He forgives us, and we move on a little wiser than beforeGod often uses our mistakes to teach us, and to keep us dependent upon His grace, driving us to cling that much more tightly to our Savior. We’ll endure hardshiplearn and grow. There’s nothing easy about walking in the Spirit, obeying God. But doing so is the best that life has to offer. He’s going to empower us to succeed!  

 

“For it is God who is at work in you, both to will and to work for His good pleasure.” Philippians 2:13 

“…equip you in every good thing to do His will, working in us that which is pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be the glory forever and ever. Amen.” Hebrews 13:21 

 

We’ve now had the two part introduction and laid the groundwork, offering some of what this series will entail, but we’ve barely spoken of the dynamic and wonderful benefits of walking with Jesus, partnering with God.

Categories: Bible, Christian Doctrine, Christian Living, Church, Faith, God's Kingdom, God's Will, Leadership, Salvation, Self Improvement, Uncategorized | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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