I love my office. It’s one of my favorite places to be. I’ve learned a lot of lessons in that office. Had many conversations with my Heavenly Daddy there. Met with and comforted lots of people in there.
I have a note pinned on my wall that says write naked. When my oldest daughter came in and saw that note for the first time she teased, “Uh, Mom, whatcha been doing in here?” I told her just to be sure and knock before coming in 🙂
It’s a reminder for writers to be real, release inhibitions, and just let the creative juices flow. Don’t let anything get in the way of it. Including yourself.
We need to do the same in every area of our lives – including and especially the things God has called us to do.
We are by nature comfort seekers. We like to do what feels good and comes easy. But all those heroes of the faith who blazed the way are cheering us on, and we need to get on with it. Let’s strip it down, throw it all off, get naked, start running and never quit.
Jesus began and finished this race we’re in. He never lost sight of where He was headed – that exhilarating finish in and with God – and could put up with anything along the way: the Cross, shame, whatever. And now He’s there. Right there in the place of honor, right alongside of God.
Let go of all insecurities, all fear, all perceived (or real) judgments by others, all sins, whatever. Write like no one is reading. Dance like no one is around. Sing like no one is listening. Go. Do. Be who you were made to be!
And, when you feel yourself flagging in your faith, go over Jesus’ story again, item by item: that long litany of hostility He plowed through, the bloodshed, the Cross. That will shoot adrenaline into your soul!
Anything holding you back is a parasite sucking all the nutrients – the joy, peace, excitement, and closeness that comes from surrendering to Christ – at your expense .
It isn’t helping you. It’s weighing you down.
Odds are….you already know this. You feel it.
RELEASE is a good word for 2014. Let go of everything that binds and RUN!
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)
Stressed? Burned out? Tired? Need Encouragement? Mad? Sad? Busy? CRAZY BUSY? Need direction? Feeling lost? Need hope, love, and wisdom? Yes. I know. We’ve all felt these feelings and more at various times in our lives. For the most part, … Continue reading →
We all have it. We are impacting those around us all the time. This is a great thing when we learn to use the influence God has given us wisely. We start by learning the art of speaking and listening with these two steps:
1. We must listen in such a way that others love to speak to us.
Post this at all the intersections, dear friends: Lead with your ears, follow up with your tongue..(James 1:19-21 MSG
How significant is listening? Listening is the fullness of hearing. It is possible to hear someone talk and not listen. In order to hear and listen, one must be paying attention. It’s so unnerving to talk to someone who isn’t listening. It quickly turns people off and turns them away. People love to talk to good listeners. James 1:19 in the NIV version says it this way: My dear brothers and sisters, take note of this: Everyone should be quick to listen, slow to speak and slow to become angry. Don’t make snap judgements. Don’t assume. First, listen well.
The world is in need of a Savior and there is only One. We must carry the Gospel message out to the world. We must hear those who are asking for help, we must listen to them to give them what they need. You have the Source of help. Are you listening?
2. We must speak in such a way that others love to listen to us.
She opens her mouth with wisdom and loving instruction is on her tongue. Proverbs 31:26 HCSB
Her words are wise, gentle, and dripping with love. Wise words (not a smart mouth), spoken and motivated by the greatest gift of all (Love) is exactly the way Christ teaches us. The best way to do that is through compassion. If we first place ourselves in their shoes for a moment and think of all the ways God is loving and patient with us, how could we be any less with others? After all, it is only by the grace of God that we aren’t struggling in their area……. or that we once were and are no more.
God drove this truth home for me this week in a big way. Let’s word that in another way: God taught me a lesson this week. I was in the middle of several sticky situations and with some people who were dropping the ball in a big way. I was tempted to lose patience with them when I got that Holy tap on the shoulder that reminded me: God meets us ALL where we are. These people aren’t mature enough to handle this well, but they could be one day. Teach. Don’t preach. Once I walked that out, things ran more smoothly, and they walked away encouraged.
She delights to talk of the Word of God and does so motivated by love: the greatest gift. She is careful in WHAT she says and HOW she says it.
How, when, what, and to whom I speak matters. Truth spoken in the wrong spirit of things can repel people AWAY from God rather than TO Him. Remember Job’s friends? This is where they went wrong. Overwhelmed and in agony with all he was suffering, Job was not comforted but rather condemned by his friends. While there were elements of truth in some of what they said, it was based on wrong assumptions. We must be careful of what we assume to be true in the lives of others. Be very careful of making snap judgments (I know I’ve made this point twice. It’s double important!)
The influence God has gifted us with should always be one that praises God and builds up people for His Kingdom.
POINTS TO PONDER:Influence is a gift. Am I faithful with my influence with those around me? Is my influence being used for HIS glory? Who am I being influenced by? Am I careful in what I say and how I say it…..when I say it, and to whom? Am I speaking words into people’s lives that are wise, gentle, and dripping with Love? Am I also doing this with my family?
May we all listen in such a way that others love to speak to us, and speak in such a way that others love to listen to us. May we be an influence on all those around us as our Jesus is. Let’s make an impact for HIM. Let’s make much of Jesus.
I read a quote this week that is said to be quoted from Beth Moore:
Ever wonder why Jesus was a carpenter? Because God’s expertise is in reconstruction
I loved it. Regardless of whether or not Beth said it, it is so true. God loves us where we are, but He doesn’t leave us there.
When we surrender ourselves to Christ, He shakes things up a bit. We change and become different people. What we consider our weakest traits will become anointed.
I love what Hillman said:
Quiet people become bold. Poor speakers learn to become great communicators. Those who were never leaders before become new leaders. This is the way of God.
When God looks at you and me, He sees our future, not our past. He sees your full potential. He sees the person He created you to become, not who you are now. And, He’s (more than) willing to help you get there.
A prayer I’ve prayed for as long as I can remember is, “Lord, help us to become the people you had in mind for us when you created us.”
When God speaks into your life, believe Him.
God turns shepherds like Moses into leaders of nations. He turns farmers like Gideon into reformers. He turns impetuous and unstable personalities like Peter into leaders that can transform a culture and lead a movement.
GOD makes something out of nothing. He takes nobodies and makes them somebodies.
The voice of GOD spoke into creation, and then it was. He’s powerful. He’s huge. He’s fantastic. And, He’s yours. You’re His.
What about you? What has called called out for you?
We call Abraham “father” not because he got God’s attention by living like a saint, but because God made something out of Abraham when he was a nobody. Isn’t that what we’ve always read in Scripture, God saying to Abraham, “I set you up as father of many peoples”? Abraham was first named “father” and then became a father because he dared to trust God to do what only God could do: raise the dead to life, with a word make something out of nothing. When everything was hopeless, Abraham believed anyway, deciding to live not on the basis of what he saw he couldn’t do but on what God said he would do. And so he was made father of a multitude of peoples. God himself said to him, “You’re going to have a big family, Abraham!” Romans 4:17, 18 MSG
That is what the Scriptures mean when God told him, “I have made you the father of many nations.” This happened because Abraham believed in the God who brings the dead back to life and who creates new things out of nothing. Romans 4:17 NLT
Here’s the description Lisa Harper’s Hebrews: The Nearness of King Jesus study:
Join Lisa Harper as she journeys through this bridge between the Old and New Testaments to get into the heart of the matter: Jesus is our accessible King. He is not a far away God, but and up-close Redeemer who draws near to us.
The trailer and description reminded me of the post I wrote this week entitled Made For Heights. God has equipped His people to scale the heights even in the midst of great challenges. He enables us to go to the higher places with Him.
The Sovereign Lord is our strength. He enables us to go on the heights (Habakkuk 3:19)
The fact that Jesus is near is a theme here on my site. He’s close. He’s crazy-head-over-heels-stalkerlike in love with us! His mind is costumed with us. He is ever working at getting closer to us. He is for us and wants more than anything to have a close, thriving, passionate relationship with us. This is why He gave up His life! He definitely, absolutely is NOT a far away God.
Being on this launch team fit me like a glove. I’m excited. I’m pumped. I’m drooling at the mouth to dig into this study and dance skin to skin with my Jesus. No “four inch rule” for us. No, we are dancing tight and up-close!
Keep an eye out. I’ll definitely be filling you in more so we can all dance with our King Jesus.
In the meantime, don’t forget to check out the new trailer we just released here and follow all the buzz on social media using the hashtag #NearJesus
Know that the Lord is God— he made us; we belong to him. We are his people, the sheep of his own pasture ~Psalms 100:3
Shepherds played an important role in the world of Israel. Their work was to find grass and water for the sheep and to protect them from wild animals and tend to their sickness and wounds. It required them to spend long hours exposed to the natural elements. It was not and easy life.
It was to the shepherds the angels first announced the birth of Jesus. This was especially appropriate since Jesus’ famous ancestor, David, had centuries earlier watched the family’s sheep in those same fields near Bethlehem.
It also reminds us that the coming of Jesus is good news for all people, not just those already privileged by wealth and power.
The important role of the shepherd is used often in the New Testament to teach us about Jesus. He is the Good Shepherd who gives His life for His sheep (John 10:1-18).
Psalm 100 is and invitation to enter joyfully into God’s presence. He is faithful and extends that faithfulness to us and beyond our generation forever.
He is ours and we are His.
God is all-knowing and ever present. He is beautiful and desirable. He is Creator. He is good and generous, great and sovereign. Holy, loving, and faithful. He is merciful, forgiving, and powerful. Ready and willing to reveal His will, law, and direction. He is righteous and just, and His Spirit is sweet.
And, He says to us:
I am your God and your are my sheep.
This. This makes me stand to my feet and applaud God. To bring a gift of laughter, and sing myself into His presence. For I know this: Jesus is my LORD. He made us….we didn’t make Him. We are His people, His well-tended sheep. I enter His presence and say THANK YOU! I make myself right at home with Him, and praise Him the whole time.
Thank Him. Worship Him. For God is sheer beauty, all-generous in love, loyal and always and ever.
Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.” Isaiah 30:21
We hear a lot about how so few are surrendering to following Christ radically. Giving up the throne and becoming second seems to be hard for a lot of people. Being willing to listen to God’s directions and doing it regardless of how ridiculous it sounds, is important. We all see people doing it. And, we all want to have that kind of closeness with God.
I don’t think it’s so much a matter of people not wanting to live this kind of life, as much as it’s about the mystery. It’s about the unknown. It’s mystical and scary, and there’s no control over the results of our choices. If we went to church on Sunday and got a list for the week….sort of a summary list of turn by turn directions. You know, the kind you get on your GPS where you can see a complete summary list ahead of time of all the turns you’ll make to get to your destination?
We would all follow God if we went to church and He gave us a complete list of to-dos. Even if they were crazy, we would do them. We don’t like the mystery of listening as we go. We want a complete list. We would even say and do crazy things if on the list God said, “On Monday, while you’re at the copy machine, your co-worker is going to walk by. Turn to her and say this. She’s going to cry, but that will only last a minute, and then she will be happy you told her that. Then, you will go and do this other thing and that will happen.”
It’s the unknown, unplanned, and not knowing that holds us up
We can read scripture and see the consequences of some of our choices, but in the day to day, we need to trust God for turn-by-turn directions. We need to listen to His voice as He says turn here, this is the way. It’s a beautiful thing to be going about your day and hear His directions this way. I’ve never regretted one time of listening to God no matter how crazy it sounded. Not one. Every single time, He had already gone ahead and prepared things for what He has me doing. But, we will always regret not listening and following His voice.
The cool thing about God is, He is always working out a solution. Everything He does is a solution. So, when we get off track He is more than willing to “recalculate” our wrong turns and help us get back on the road. God calls on us, we certainly can call on Him.
Let today be the day that you say Today, God is first. Radically. No matter what. Even in the crazy ridiculous…
“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness'” 2 Cor 12:9
If there is one thing that is consistent throughout scripture, it is this: God calls people when they are not ready. God will never call you into service when you think you are ready. This is intentional on God’s part.
And, you can be sure when God calls you, you will have similar responses as Saul did when he was called to be the first king, or Gideon, when he was called to take down the idols in his nation, or Moses, when he was called to deliver his people from Egypt.
Saul answered, “But am I not a Benjamite, from the smallest tribe of Israel, and is not my clan the least of all the clans of the tribe of Benjamin? Why do you say such a thing to me?” (1 Sam 9:21).
“But Lord,” Gideon asked, “how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family” (Judg 6:15).
But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” (Ex 3:11).
When God calls, you will most likely be in the most unlikely circumstances to receive that call. You will be in the midst of a crisis, you will lack resources, you will not have the skills you think you need. This too is the way of God.
God does this because He wants you to know your call is only based on His ability, not yours. When you think it is based on you, this is a false humility. And, it is unbelief and disobedience on your part.
Has God called you to something you have failed to do because you felt you were not ready? Repent before the Lord and let God accomplish great things through you.
“One man considers one day more sacred than another; another man considers every day alike” Rom 14:5
Avodah (Ah´-voe-dah) is a Hebrew noun used in the Bible that has two distinct yet intertwined meanings: worship and work. It is also derived from the Hebrew verb L’Avod which has two meanings; to work and also to worship. The dual meaning offers powerful wisdom for modern times for how we are to view our work lives.
Work, if done with and unto God, is a form of worship in the biblical Hebrew context. There has never been a concept of segmenting our work from our faith life in the Bible. It is in the realm of the sacred to bring God into our everyday life. Hebrews did not set aside a “day of worship,” such as Saturday or Sunday, but everyday is a place and time of worship. They did set aside a Sabbath day of rest.
It is a western idea to segment one’s faith life from our work like. In the Middle East and Asia, their cultures would never separate their faith from their work life even though their faith foundations might clearly contradict Christian beliefs. When someone comes to faith in Christ from this area of the world, they have an easier time of assimilating their faith into their work because they have always done so.
God calls us to do our work as an act of worship to Him. Our work is not to be a place of sweat and toil, but an expression of our love, faith and adoration of Jesus Christ. Today, before you work, ask God to help you see your work in a new way–as worship to Him.
Leaders remember: you’ve got to live it to lead it
Just a short post today as I ponder leadership.
There is a difference between a boss and a leader…
Anyone can be bossy, but not everyone can be a leader
Leaders lead~~Bossy people are just bossy.
Leaders inspire, build up, and encourage~~Bossy people blame and tear down.
Leaders want others to succeed~~Bossy people walk in fear and jealousy.
Leaders see clearly that there is no “I” in team~~Bossy people see no “I” in team.
Leaders thrive on giving~~Bossy people snatch, take false credit, and think everyone is out to get them.
Leaders speak well of your accomplishments to others~~Bossy people belittle you and gossip.
Leaders make much of Jesus~~Bossy people need to be upfront and center with the spotlight on them.
When a leader sees someone younger in the faith making a mistake, they come alongside, teach in love, and keep it between them ~~~Bossy people see someone make a mistake, call it out and tell others about it. (whoever would foster love covers over an offense, but whoever repeats a matter separates close friends. Proverbs 17:9)
Leaders do this:
So Christ himself gave the apostles, the prophets, the evangelists, the pastors and teachers, to equip his people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ. (Ephesians 4:11-13 NIV)
Go. Inspire someone today. Encourage.Equip.Empower others to the attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ
Leaders: Remember, you’ve got to live it to lead it. A boss says “Go!” A leader says “Let’s Go!”
What a beautiful picture of freedom in Genesis 2:25:
Now the man and his wife were both naked, but they felt no shame….
Absolutely nothing hidden. Honesty with themselves, each other and best of all with God. What a pure, beautiful way to live. So inspiring!
There’s only one way to get that kind of life and that’s by living second. We live in a culture that all about being first at whatever the cost. Where lives are lived in secret and where money and me, me, me is what counts. It’s exhausting. There is no joy.
I am on the launch team for the I Am Second Organization. We launched a new and improved book this week. It’s updated with even more content and inspiring stories about God making extraordinary differences in ordinary people like you and me. Real stories. Real people. Changing lives.
I know the people in this book. I know them because I saw a little piece of me in nearly every story. Maybe you’ll see a little of yourself in the pages too.
No matter what walk of life we come from, we all experience pain. Some caused by others and some caused by us. One thing for sure….no matter the cause of the pain, the one and only freeing way to live is second.Living second is living surrendered to God. Fully. Him first and upfront, center stage and having His way with you in every area of your life. No secrets. No holding back.This book is full of evidence of the powerful hand of God that moves freely and victoriously once He is given the freedom to. These ordinary people surrendered their lives and allowed God to use the platform they’ve been given. He blessed them for it. And, He’ll do the same through you and me.
The words “change me” are the two mos
t powerful words a Christ follower can say. Once said, God began doing a work on all of the heart ache, pain, punishment, prostitution, hate, drugs, pride, pornography, alcohol, bitterness, shame, and loneliness and more. God is a God who can do immeasurably more than we can ever ask or imagine (Ephesians 3:20). We see this truth in this book. This book is about victory.
The stories in this book will warm your heart, draw you closer to your Savior, and inspire you. Get.This.Book.
Do you know someone that needs encouragement? Someone that needs a Savior? Someone screaming out for help in the wrong direction? Someone you want to reach with the Gospel? Get.This.Book.An
A person on our team shared this verse and I agree that it does a great job at summing up what this book is all about and what the people in this book are doing:
Come and listen, all you who fear God, and I will tell you what he did for me. For I cried out to him for help, praising him as I spoke. If I had not confessed the sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened. But God did listen! He paid attention to my prayer. Praise God, who did not ignore my prayer or withdraw his unfailing love from me. Psalms 66:16-20
This isn’t just a book. It’s a movement.
Here’s the link to purchase the book on Amazon: I Am Second
A few quotes from the book:
*I do not profit in any way from this book. I get no money whatsoever from the sales. We here at E3 are about Encouraging, Equipping, and Empowering others. This book is a holy hallelujah touch down in accomplishing this and so we pass it on to you. We are honored and blessed to be a small part of the team*
The book of Genesis begins with “God created the heavens and the earth” The world—and you—are not products of blind chance and probability; God created it and us. They are here. We are here. God created all that we see and experience. Here we begin the most exciting and fulfilling journey imaginable.
God did not NEED to create the universe. He CHOSE to create it. Why? Love. God is love and love is best expressed toward something or someone else. So, God created the world and people as an expression of His love.
We can know in a very personal way this God who created the universe. God’s deepest desire is to relate to you. To have fellowship with you, His creation. He took the ultimate first step in this relationship with us through His visit to this planet in the person of His Son, Jesus. Now, it’s your turn. It’s your move.
How do you grow closer to understanding and hearing from God? By giving heed to His gentle checks, His delicate restraints and constraints. His voice is still and small and must be felt.
God is love and His voice is for the ear of love. And, your love should be intent on hearing even the smallest of whispers.
You know…those times in conversation when you’re just about to say a word, and you feel that gentle nudge. And, those moments when you’re about to pursue something that seems clear and right and there comes a quiet suggestion that another way is better.
It’s a voice quietly spoken in your heart at first but the more you listen and obey, it grows louder and clearer.
If you want to know Him better take heed to His voice even when is seems contradictory from a human standpoint. Obey even when He asks you to move in the dark. When you do, you will experience a fellowship with God that is wildly overpowering, wonderfully overwhelming, and more than you could ever imagine. A relationship that will hold you and He closely together even in the most severe testings and pressures.
Remember: You are part of creation, and He is pleased with how He made you. If at times you feel worthless, remember that God made you for a good reason. You.Are.Valuable.To.Him.
As we look at Luke 20:1-8, we see Jesus rocking it out at public relations as He always did. It’s Passion week at this point. Jesus has already made His triumphal entry at the end of Chapter 19. The air is thick with praise. The universe seemed ready to burst any minute with praise and worship over King Jesus.
Ever felt that way in worship? Like you’re just going to explode right on the spot with worship and you’ve just got to get it out? Jesus said if the people stopped their worship, the very stones would cry out! He is worthy and He will be praised, but, a rock isn’t going to have to take my place at worship. I love Him, and my praise will be done by me, amen and thank you very much. Lord Jesus, may I never miss and opportunity to tell You just how beautiful You are…
As He approached and saw the city of Jerusalem, He wept for her. I know something of the deep sadness that comes over you when you see someone who just can’t see what’s there as they reject what GOD has for their life; choosing a destructive way of life instead. Heartbreaking. I want everyone to know my Jesus and how it feels to be close to Him. It’s breathtaking.
Jesus went right to work. He was there for a reason, and He stayed on the planned path. First things first. He cleaned house. Ever felt like that? I know I have come home and seen a hot mess going on and had enough and I “cleaned house” like a banche….saying, I.have.had.enough.of.this. This party is o v e r. Jesus went into the temple and saw these people desecrating it by using it to make a profit. He threw them out! He is not playing around with this glory stuff. It’s Daddy’s house, and His glory. Done and done.
Lord, I pray there has never been (and never will be) a time that I have perverted your call on my life by profiting from it. I never want to be thrown out from Your presence. There are so many ways to do that. Ever seen GOD do something powerful and took the credit? Ever wanted to make a name for yourself, all in the name of working for The Lord? Ever tried to manipulate things so that someone sees you do what you did for The Lord and His people? And get mad when you think someone is doing a better job than you, or getting more attention than you…..all in the name of “serving The Lord”? Ever tried to manipulate a situation to make your life easier….on that committee?
Ever been led by fear that someone is trying to take your place and begin trying to discredit them?
That’s what the chief priests, the scribes, and the leaders (a.k.a. the Sanhedrin) were trying to do. Jesus caught them sleeping on the job by allowing those things to take place in the temple. They were embarrassed and angry. They wanted to destroy Him. So, they did what any good committee would do: they marched themselves in and disrupted things. They made a scene. You know they were puffed up thinking they had Him right where they wanted Him because of the way they busted right in on that crowd and questioned His authority to throw the merchants out of the temple. They didn’t really care about the answer, they just wanted to arrogantly debate. Ever known someone like that…..who doesn’t really care one way or the other, they just want to fight?
As He often did, Jesus turned the attention back on them. Finding themselves in a no-win situation, they said they didn’t know the answer. Having caught His opponents in a trap made by their own hands, Jesus also refused to answer their question. What a genius!
What is our response to criticism and opposition? Do we anticipate it as the Bible says we should? Do we act as Jesus did? He remained calm and always addressed what was at the heart of the opposition instead of the behavior itself. He remained on the task of completing the mission here on earth.
When we are truly following Jesus, people will question our motives, attack our character, and ridicule the authority we have been given by GOD to serve Him and change lives here on earth. We need to do what Jesus did. We need to mimic Him through our patience, professing the Word of GOD, and stay committed to the task GOD gave us. We don’t need to get caught up and distracted by the emotions. I mean, that’s the real plan anyway….to get us distracted from what GOD has for us. It’s all a spiritual battle. All of it.
Let’s all just stay on task. Let’s live, lead, and love like Jesus, ok?
Spending time alone with God can be a difficult discipline, because it goes against the activity addiction of this age. But it’s the most productive thing you could ever do.
I am rarely doing two things at once. I’m usually multitasking 4-7 (or more) things at a time whether anyone knows it or not. I can tick more boxes off in a morning than some people do in a day. Some days there is so much activity going on in so many different directions that I’m sure it’s going to create a vortex that will devour the universe as we know it. Just suck it right in.
Activity. We are addicted to it. There’s lots to get done. And it all needed to get done 10 minutes ago.
Never before in the history of mankind have we had more access to scripture but less time to absorb it. You can’t microwave spiritual transformation.
My most productive days are the ones that started out sitting on God’s knee, or rocking on His Heavenly front porch and immersing myself in Him. Our time talking to and listening (don’t forget about the listening part!) to God, and reading God’s Word is about encountering God–Not ticking off another box.
My most unproductive days are the ones that I rush through time with Him. It’s the #1 killer. Bar none. Quietness and trust accomplish far more than we can imagine: not only in us, but also in earth and in heaven.
Whether or not we choose to acknowledge it, there’s a war going on. You may feel like you’re doing nothing, but time alone with God allows you to use heavenly weapons which have divine power to demolish strongholds and break every chain. Every. One. Did you get that? Go back and read that again. Living close to God is a sure-fire defense. And, He’s already won the battle. Let’s stay on the winning side.
If your life feels like chaos, pull up a chair….or better yet, sit on Daddy’s knee a while….
“Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.” John 14:27
This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel, says: “In repentance and rest is your salvation, in quietness and trust is your strength, but you would have none of it.” Isaiah 30:15
He is the God: let him do whatever He thinks best. – 1 Sam 3:18
See God in everything, and God will calm and color all that you see. It may be that the circumstances of our sorrows will not be removed, their condition will remain unchanged, things aren’t going as planned, things happening that we don’t remember signing up for; but if Christ, as Lord and Master of our life, is brought into it, ”HE will surround me with songs of deliverance.“ To see HIM, and to be sure that His wisdom cannot err, His power cannot fail, His love can never change; to know that even His direst dealings with us are for our deepest spiritual gain, is to be able to say, in the midst of bereavement, sorrow, pain, and loss, ”The Lord gave and the Lord has taken away; blessed be the name of the Lord.” He is God: Let Him do whatever He thinks is best
Do you acknowledge that God is everything but struggle to see God’s hand in everything that is happening right now, in your daily life?
Charles Finney said, ” A state of mind that sees God in everything is evidence of growth in grace and a thankful heart.”
Nothing else but seeing God in everything will make us loving and patient with those who [and those things that] annoy and trouble us. They will be to us then only instruments for accomplishing His tender and wise purposes toward us, and we shall even find ourselves at last inwardly thanking them for the blessings they bring us. Nothing else will completely put an end to all murmuring or rebelling thoughts.—H. W. Smith.
“Give me a new idea,” I said,
While musing on a sleepless bed;
“A new idea that’ll bring to earth A balm for souls of priceless worth;
That’ll give men thoughts of things above,
And teach them how to serve and love,
That’ll banish every selfish thought,
And rid men of the sins they’ve fought.”
The new thought came, just how, I’ll tell:
’Twas when on bended knee I fell,
And sought from HIM who knows full well
The way our sorrow to expel. SEE GOD IN ALL THINGS, great and small,
And give HIM praise whate’er befall,
In life or death, in pain or woe,
See God, and overcome thy foe.
I saw HIM in the morning light,
HE made the day shine clear and bright;
I saw HIM in the noontide hour,
And gained from HIM refreshing shower.
At eventide, when worn and sad,
HE gave me help, and made me glad.
At midnight, when on tossing bed
My weary soul to sleep HE led.
I saw HIM when great losses came,
And found HE loved me just the same.
When heavy loads I had to bear,
I found HE lightened every care.
By sickness, sorrow, sore distress,
HE calmed my mind and gave me rest.
HE’S filled my heart with gladsome praise
Since I gave HIM the upward gaze.
’Twas new to me, yet old to some,
This thought that to me has become
A revelation of the way
We all should live throughout the day;
For as each day unfolds its light,
We’ll walk by faith and not by sight.
Life will, indeed, a blessing bring,
If we SEE GOD IN EVERYTHING.”
—A. E. Finn
As we headed through the hall, she wanted to lead. She didn’t know where I was going, but she felt she knew and wanted to lead anyway. For a little while she was going where I was headed but as soon as we were at a crossroad, she went the wrong way.
Aren’t we all like that with God? We walk with Him a while, and then we think we know what’s best and begin to take over the lead. That inevitable moment comes when it is obvious we were wrong. Ouch.
We all want God on our side. God wants to be. He wants a growing, thriving, active relationship with us. We don’t have to struggle and beg for it. He wanted to be with us so badly that He sent His Son to die to make that happen. We definitely don’t have to wonder if God is for us. He’s made that obvious.
We can learn a lot from Jesus’ life. He lived intentionally. Remember WWJD? We can lean in and learn what He did, to know what we should do:
Jesus only did what God was doing (John 5:19). Jesus never did anything that He didn’t see the Father doing. We follow Jesus who follows God. But we get caught up in wanting to know “what is going to happen if” (fear). We think we know, and that’s when we start taking over.
One family night my hubby dropped my daughter and me off at the door to the movies. On the way out, we didn’t know where our vehicle was. She asked several times, “Where are we parked, Daddy?”. I used the opportunity to teach. Daddy knows where the car is. We can trust Daddy. If we follow Daddy, we will get to the car. Jesus knows what He’s doing too. We can trust Him. If we follow Him, we will always be going the right way.
Hey, I get it. I really do. Life is scary. There are a lot of unknowns to us. We. Don’t. Know. Where. We. Are. Going. But, Jesus does. Where He is, the Father is. Are you in Christ? Are you doing what He is doing? There shouldn’t be a big disconnect between the stuff Jesus does and the stuff that we do because we should be looking at Jesus, doing what He is doing as Jesus is looking at the Father, doing what He is doing. You know, follow the leader, Simon says game. Only, life isn’t a game, and we aren’t kids.
We spend so much time trying to get Jesus to turn around and follow us…..and we don’t even know where we are going. If we lead, it is rarely good for anyone that we influence or who follows us.
If our passion–if our focus is on Jesus–then we are headed right where God wants us. And, wherever God is….that’s for sure where I want to be.
What about those neutral things? Those things that aren’t right or wrong? What about when I mess up? David messed up. Big. Yet, He was called the man after God’s own heart. David’s secret? Humility. He knew that a truly humbled heart is the way to please God (Psalm 51:17).
In contrast, being proud is a sure-fire way to guarantee that God is NOT with you. God resists the proud (James Ch 4).
The idea that God is on our side can lead us two ways:
Thinking that it means now we can get done all we want to do because He’s with me. He’s on my side.
Worship. Know myself truly, that apart from God there isn’t one thing in me good. I don’t want to be on my own side. It stinks! I want to be on God’s side. I join in with Psalm 124 and say, “If the Lord had not been on my side.” I say in all humility, BUT GOD. By His grace go I.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new (2 Corinthians 5:17).
I love Spring. It gets me excited. It makes me stretch all the cold bones of the winter and washes away all the mud and the muck. All those dreary days are forgotten at the sight of that first Spring flower. And my eyes dance. I love the newness.That freshness of all things beginning. Growth. Potential. Everything on the horizon.
When you ask Christ to be your Savior, you are a new creation. Your sins are forgiven. All things new.
Satan always defines your life based on your past; God defines you by your future.
“You’re never going to change!” “You always do that!”
Perhaps you’ve heard such words. Words can define us if we let them. Failure can be a warning sign that motivates change or it sends us into self-sabotage and shame. The cross paid the price for that. Have you accepted the payment on your behalf?
When you allow others to define who you are that is contrary to who God says who you are, you’ve made them an idol in your life. You’ve allowed a spirit of rejection and shame and performance to define you.
When we come to know Christ our spirit is 100% redeemed. However, our soul requires regeneration. This is a process. The Bible calls it sanctification. “Now may the God of peace who brought up our Lord Jesus from the dead, that great Shepherd of the sheep, through the blood of the everlasting covenant, make you complete in every good work to do His will, working in you what is well pleasing in His sight, through Jesus Christ, to whom be glory forever and ever. Amen” (Hebrews 13:20-21). It is God’s responsibility to guide our maturity process as we yield ourselves to Him.
You are a new creation “in process.” Only Jesus made plan “A” in His life. God redeems our “B” and “C” plans to be His “A” plan. Accept God’s process in yourself and in others. Believe who Daddy says you are.
And besides….the next time the enemy reminds you if your past, remind him of his future
Week one of our Bible Study: Living and Leading Like Jesus is complete. What a great study this week!! We’ve gone through all of Chapter 9 in 5 days! We are having a great time with my two online groups that I’m leading. GOD is answering prayers and speaking loudly to us. Pray for us, will you?
Let’s lean in to the last verses for this week. We’ll pick back up next week. See you then?
58) Jesus replied, “Foxes have holes and birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man has no place to lay his head.”60) Jesus said to him, “Let the dead bury their own dead, but you go and proclaim the kingdom of God.”62) Jesus replied, “No one who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.” (Luke 9:58,60,62)<
Jesus did not rebuke, but clarified for him what following Him would involve so he could count the cost. Perhaps he was looking at the followers and daydreaming a life that wasn’t reality. He would need to accept homelessness, physical discomfort, and rejection. Life is urgent and announcing God’s Kingdom is urgent—spreading the Gospel is urgent! No procrastination and putting off things with God. Seize the day for Him. Jesus was totally dedicated in every way and in every moment. Looking back keeps us from looking ahead at following Him and His command and is a distraction. We need to leave our past behind. This isn’t a question of entrance into the Kingdom—but effective service in the Kingdom after entering it.
Discipleship involves hard work and sacrifice. It’s not all pretty and glam (as some people think!). Jesus wonders: Are we ready to rough it? A life lived for and lead by Jesus is a life abandoned….no half hearted commitment. We can’t pick and choose among Jesus’ ideas and follow Him selectively–this isn’t a Burger King, have it your way menu for you to choose from–we accept the cross along with the crown and abandon what we place our security in without looking back (not only at things, people, or behaviors that distract, but also the past life that the enemy would have you focused on instead of walking clothed in His righteousness and in the power and authority given to you by Jesus Himself). We have to loosen our grip on things that normally provide emotional security: Are you ready to surrender control of your life and follow Him? Christ followers aren’t made of half-hearted stuff or dreamy sentimentality. Kingdom work is the hardest, most gut wrenching, most exhausting, most heart breaking, most judged job that is by far THE most rewarding, most joyous, most satisfying job that I wouldn’t trade for anything this world has to offer. Following Christ isn’t always easy, but it’s always worth it!
People have a hard time when it comes to denying themselves to follow Christ. Did you battle something you would have to give up to follow Christ? Is there anything above Jesus for you?
Lord, thank You for all You gave up for me. Thank You for living a life of such discomfort, and suffering the cross……all for me! May we answer the call to follow You with sincerity and whole-heartedly without looking back. You are worthy. In Jesus name, Amen.
Jesus, knowing their thoughts, took a little child and had him stand beside him. Then he said to them, “Whoever welcomes this little child in my name welcomes me; and whoever welcomes me welcomes the one who sent me. For he who is least among you all—he is the greatest.” (Luke 9:47-48)
The Twelve were thinking about rank in the kingdom. They wondered which of them would have the highest position and the most prestige. Jesus knows us intimately. He knew the competitive pride that fostered the argument and was quick to point out that spiritually whoever was least was great.
By standing the child beside Him, Jesus gave the child honor. Acceptable service involves caring about people, even insignificant people A child was the least significant person in Jewish and in Greco-Roman culture. It reflects His interest in neglected people.
To live and lead like Jesus is to know that greatness in the Kingdom has nothing to do with greatness in this world.
Jesus meant that instead of seeking status for ourselves, His disciples should give their attention to the needs of people who have no status. The disciple who ministers to a person with no status, as though he or she was ministering to Jesus, does in fact minister to Jesus and to God the Father. Our care for others is a measure of our greatness. The principle here is that: the disciple who is willing to sacrifice personal advancement, in order to serve insignificant people, as the world evaluates people, is truly “great” in God’s estimation.Our greatness is measured by surrender and acceptance of God and His will.
We are free-ist when we obey, tallest when we are kneeling, and most alive when we die. A great leader is a servant leader—that’s who Jesus was, and that’s who we need to be if we want to live and lead like Jesus.
Being “important” isn’t important. What is important is serving others in the name of Jesus
~ I also think this is talking about more than just actions. It’s easy enough to “do” good things to help others and to serve those around you. It’s an attitude of saying that others are important and that Jesus loves them. That in itself is enough reason to give that person value. And because they have value, I’m willing to do whatever I can to help them! Sometimes the heart attitude comes after the actions of our hands, so we should be willing to work even when we don’t feel like it. -Amanda GMG
Lord, thank You for Your grace. We try to make things about us. Forgive us! May our focus be ever on decreasing so that You may increase in our lives. May we be spiritually sensitive and accepting of Your will and Word, and be found faithful. In Jesus name, Amen
Then he said to them all: “Whoever wants to be my disciple must deny themselves and take up their cross daily and follow me. For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for me will save it. What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, and yet lose or forfeit their very self? Whoever is ashamed of me and my words, the Son of Man will be ashamed of them when he comes in his glory and in the glory of the Father and of the holy angels. (Luke 9:23-26 NIV)
Having outlined His own future in verse 22, the Lord invited the disciples to follow Him. This would mean denying themselves and taking up their cross daily. Anyone who intends to come along side Jesus has to let Him lead. Nothing material can compensate for the loss of a walk with Jesus—Jesus’ disciples are not to use their lives on earth merely to please themselves; they should spend their lives serving God and others. In efforts to focus on acquiring all the worldly things, the true purpose of life is missed. What good would that do when we would only have it for a short while, then leave it forever. It would be an insane bargain! Serve Him with boldness!! And, don’t miss the excitement of His coming back….how could that compare with anything this world could possibly say to us to cause us embarrassment?!
To follow Him we must lay down our devotions to this world and live for Christ and His mission. The fact that He mentioned that we need to take up our cross tells us that we can expect painful situations every day because of our allegiance to Christ. To take up the cross means to deliberately choose the kind of life that He lived. The life He lived involved this and more:
Opposition of loved ones
The reproach of the world
Complete dependence on God
Obedience to the leading of the Holy Spirit
Proclamation of an unpopular message
A pathway of loneliness
Organized attacks from established religious leaders
Suffering for righteousness sake
Slander and shame
Pouring out one’s life for others
Death to self and to the world<
But, it also involves laying hold of life that is life indeed! It means finding at last the reason for our existence. And it means eternal reward. Do we think of our relationship with God primarily in terms of, what’s in it for us, or in terms of what we can do for Him? Am I willing to deny myself, take up my cross daily and follow Him? Willingly renounce any so called right to plan or choose and to recognize His Lordship in every area of life? Surrendering to God’s will does not mean you lose. It means you win. God’s will is always best, even when we cannot imagine how!
This life of abandonment is genuine living and brings profound spiritual pleasure. It has a joy, a holy carefreeness, and a deep inward satisfaction that defies description.
It is possible for believers to temporarily cower in fear around unbelievers and act “ashamed” of Jesus as Peter did in his denials of Christ. Hurt people hurt people and will often try to embarrass someone for the stand they take in an attempt to make themselves feel better.
“He is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose” -Jim Elliot
Deny myself… oh what a challenge for us at times, Lord, but even moreso when we take our eyes off of Jesus and what He’s done for us. This I know Lord… when I keep my eyes fixed on Jesus and lose my life for His sake, I am filled with such peace and contentment that can only come from Christ! God, help us to be “all in” in our relationship with You – we can’t have one foot in the world and still fully follow You. Help us to boldly live for You, knowing that it may cost us temporary comfort, but oh what joy for such an eternal reward! In Jesus name, Amen.
I promise you what I promised Moses: ‘Wherever you set your foot, you will be on land I have given you’ Joshua 1:3 NLT
Joshua and the people of Israel had promises to go, measure out, and claim. This was a literal ground unoccupied for them. God’s grace had a plan to bless and prosper them. All they needed to do was walk it out in faith.
Friend, there are divine, new and precious promises waiting for you to claim. We serve a God who is alive and actively working and pursuing you. He’s absolutely crazy about you and wants to give you so much more of Himself. His love isn’t a selfish love, but a love that wants to give and give and give and give. And give. To you.
Step out and claim your ground in Christ. There is a magnificent territory to march through the length, and breadth of and lay hold of. There is a land of promises opened up to you, child of God. It is God’s will that we “measure it off” by the feet of obedient faith and claim it as our own! Take possession of the promises of God in the name of Christ!
If I had the power to stop time, I wouldn’t. If that question were asked of a younger me, I would have answered differently and given a list of moments that I would have stopped the clock. But not the “today” me. No, not a chance.
I would have chosen the first kiss from my husband; so sweet and exciting. If I had stopped time there, I would miss our wedding day, the look in his eyes at the births of our children, our deep love grown stronger with each passing year. I would have missed our first home, the teamwork and prayers we’ve shared on our knees. I would have missed his leadership grown from loving and serving our Lord together. The way that even now, 24 years later, when I look at him my heart still skips a beat. The many lives led to Christ. I would have missed miracles.
I would have chosen the first time I held each of my two children. What a blessed and joyous day! Kissing their sweet faces and touching them for the first time was beautiful, miraculous, and filled with awe. If time had stopped there I would have missed the first word, the first steps, the hugs, the first “I love you Mommy”, school days and being their teacher, accepting Christ as their Savior, first jobs, the times of speaking and sharing the love of Christ with others, traveling and serving God alongside them, and all the people and opportunities that have come into our lives through that ministry. I would have missed miracles.
If I had stopped time there, I would have missed the fantastic way God brought our brand new 6 year old daughter Bella into our lives. I would have missed the way He whispered her name to me weeks and weeks before I knew her. I would have missed the way her face entered her older sister’s dreams months before that. I would have missed the beautiful love that we all share. I would have missed miracles.
Yes, I would have missed deaths of dear loved ones, hurts, betrayals, losses, sicknesses, heart-aches and pain that came. But our most effective ministry, our ability to love deeper and more fiercely, to praise often and more loudly, to pray with more surety and authority, to stand quicker and more strongly, to speak up and more boldly, to show great mercy and grace to others, comes out of our deepest hurts.
Instead, I would use that power to embrace a little longer, engage a little deeper and envelope a little wider. You see, if I stopped time, I would miss each new thing….each new person….each new ministry….each new experience that God brings me….and I would miss miracles.
Thanks so much for the writing prompt, Ellen. It was great remembering how blessings outweigh the pain.
Immediately the Spirit drove Him into the wilderness. Mark 1:12
It seemed a strange proof of God’s favor. Immediately after what? Immediately after the heavens opened up and the Spirit descended to Him like a dove, and God said, “You are my beloved Son; in whom I am well pleased.”
The same spirit who descended on Jesus at His baptism now drove Him into the wilderness where He was tempted by satan for 40 days. It is no abnormal experience.
We, too, have passed through times of desert after a mountain top experience with God. God shines on us to make us fit for life’s desert-places……for its Gethsemanes, for its Calvaries. Testing that marks and mightily enriches a soul’s spiritual life is anything but ordinary. Although it can be a time when it seems all hell has broken loose, it ends in certain triumph for those who have committed themselves to Him. We become a greater “help to the helpless” and come away with a fire. Jesus’ ministry on earth began just after His days in the wilderness. How exciting to know….and if we would just keep that in mind during our own “sending out” times.
God has not left you. In fact, anointed one, He strengthened you for such a time as this.
I was visiting with someone this week that was severely fenced in with bitterness. As I watched and listened, I saw how her life, those around her, and those on the potential other side of her choice to live this way are effected. Not only the relationships now, but the ones that “could be” are in the balance. I wonder how many divine appointments have been overlooked….will be overlooked. I wonder how many great people and opportunities have slipped by. Three words away from breaking through those chains into freedom.
Free is such a beautiful word.
“The Lord is the Spirit, and where the Lord’s Spirit is, there is freedom” 2 Corinthians 3:17
We are often one liberating act away from opening a huge door to enter into a beautiful new world.
“I can’t tell you how much I long for you to enter this wide-open, spacious life. We didn’t fence you in. The smallness you feel comes from within you. Your lives aren’t small, but you’re living them in a small way. I am speaking as plainly as I can and with great affection. Open up your lives. Live openly and expansively!” 2 Corinthians 6:11-13
Are there areas of your life right now where you may feel trapped, not experiencing the freedom your heart longs for? Are you three words away from freedom? “I forgive you….He forgives me”
Is there someone you need to forgive? Bitterness is the spawn of unforgiveness. It’s bothering you way more than that other person. It’s like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.
Is there something you need to forgive yourself for?
Is there something in your life where you feel shame and the need to hide?
Hebrews 12:1-2 beckons us into a life of freedom and victory: “Let us strip off every weight that slows us down, especially the sin that so easily trips us up. And let us run with endurance this race God has set before us. We do this by keeping our eyes on Jesus, the champion who initiates and perfects our faith.”
I read this somewhere and made note of it. It speaks truth:
“We hold the keys to our freedom in our hands and hearts. As we keep our eyes on Jesus and allow His love and grace to flow into our lives, we become a channel of freedom for others as well. As we walk in the way of life, we become an avenue of life for others.”
He gives it to us so that He can give it through us.
Jesus is a “come as you are” kind of guy….but you’re certainly not leaving as you came!
Even the worse day of your life, God can redeem. He can go back, pick that thing up and bring about a complete transformation. The devil will be sorry he ever messed with you -Beth Moore
There’s nothing more powerful on earth than a Christian walking in full on bold faith in Christ, and all He is and does and can do.
The devil wants you walking around feeling small and defeated, but it is he who is defeated. He has no power over you.
You are accepted….redeemed…..renewed…..assured of a present and future glory with Him……reconciled with Christ and re-created!
He breathes new life! You are a NEW creation…..not a turning over of a new leaf….the old is gone, and a new life has begun!
Yep, that’s right, when you bring up to Him your past sin, He’ll say what sin?
You can choose to let your past define you, confine you, refine you, outshine you, or you can choose to move on and leave it behind you…..because you, my friend, are a brand new creation in Christ.
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; the old is gone, the new has come! And all of this is a gift from God, who brought us back to himself through Christ. And God has given us the task of reconciling people to him. 2 Corinthians 5:17-18
I’ve been teaching a lot on patterns in school and in ministry lately. Patterns in the world, and the patterns we trace. We’re told in Romans 12:2 to break the patterns of this world in our lives. The renewing of our minds to the mind of Christ transforms our lives as we grow to know what God’s good, pleasing, and perfect will is for our lives.
In Psalm 127:1-2 it says, Unless the Lord builds the house, it’s builders labor in vain. Unless the Lord guards the city, the watchmen stays awake in vain. It is vain for you to rise up early, to sit up late, to eat the bread of sorrows; for so He gives His beloved sleep. The Hebrew word for house in verse one can actually be translated family. That is one reason why the next few verses read like this:
Behold, children are a heritage of the Lord, the fruit of the womb is a reward. Like arrows in the hand of a warrior, so are the children of one’s youth. Happy is the man who has a quiver full of them; they shall not be ashamed, but shall speak with their enemies in the gate.
If you have sat up late, worrying about your children or your family, you need to know that God can turn things around.
Trust Him to build and protect your family. Do your part, but look to Him for guidance and strength. And trust Him to do what you cannot do. Be their ideal; let them follow the way you teach and live. Be a pattern for them in your love, and your faith. God recently blew our minds and busted our hearts wide open by bringing a sweet little 6 year old into our family. She loves to walk around acting, talking, and teaching like I do. My husband and oldest daughter noticed it before I did. It’s so cute, but it also has me watching her closely. Just as she traces those squares and triangles while I’m teaching her shapes, she is tracing my walk. As I’m watching her closely, she is watching me even more closely! I’ve got to be sure I’m following the pattern Christ gives to us as she is following my pattern.
He can cause your “arrows” to be effective against the enemy instead of wounding your heart. He can turn things around. My little “mini-me” came from a very abusive background. God is healing and restoring her. God can turn our lives around! He’s an expert at renewing, restoring, and resurrecting! He makes all things new, and that includes your family. Trust Him to do what you cannot do.
“House-building” and “city-guarding” cannot succeed apart from God. You are His beloved. Allow Him to give you peace and rest now.
May you be happy with your quiver of “arrows,” and may God be glorified in your family.
I’ve had several people ask me about effective Bible study so today I want to make it available to everyone. Remember, if He can give it through you, He will give it to you. I have a blended method, but found the acronym “SOAP” through Good Morning Girls to be easy to remember so in sharing this, I use that acronym and added some things that I find to be effective. That’s what listening to God is all about. Use this, and listen to God yourself as you grow closer to Him through His word. You can tweak this however you want:
The acronym is SOAP but as I said, I’ve added a twist:
Scripture: First, get yourself positioned to hear from God. Pull away from distractions into quiet, no matter where that may be for you (many, many times over the years I’ve had to do this in the car while waiting to pick up one of my children, so just wherever that is for YOU).
Physically write out the scripture. You’ll be amazed what God will reveal just by taking the time to slow down and actually write out what you’re reading. We’re looking for quality here not quantity. Write out one verse, then a paraphrase of this verse; pulling out the major points. So, you’re paper will have one verse, your paraphrase, the next verse, your paraphrase, etc.
Observation: Pull put spiritual principals. Who is the audience? Is there a repetition of words? What words stand out to you? Circle those words. Is there a promise? An attribute of God to know? Something I need to learn (there ALWAYS is)? A promise? A command? Really put yourself into the story. Feel what’s going on.
Application: This is when God’s Word becomes personal. What is God saying to me today? How can I apply what I just read to my own personal life? What changes do I need to make? Is there an action that I need to take? What is it I am supposed to learn from this? Something I need to do…..be….do better……more of? Ask yourself: am I heeding that command, that promise in scripture? He always speaks for our obedience.
Prayer and Plan: Pray God’s Word back to Him. If He has revealed something to you during the time in His Word, pray about it. Confess of He has revealed sin in your life.
Plan to do what God wants you to do. If you need to start a new habit, new walk, new anything, more of something….be strategic about it. The enemy’s attacks are strategically placed against us….be equally strategic in how you are going to do what God wants you to do.
Feel free to share anything you have found to be effective in your own Bible Study!
But Paul shouted, “Don’t harm yourself! We are all here!” -Acts 16:28
At this point, an earthquake erupted and the jail cell was opened. “Deliverance! Praise God!” would be the first response by most. But not Paul and Silas. Rather than leave, they stayed. What?! Isn’t that a great sign that God said they can/should go?
Paul and Silas didn’t leave because they were tuned in to God and knew there was a higher purpose for which they were in prison. They were not looking at their circumstance; they were much more concerned about the unsaved guard. The story goes on to tell us how he took them home with him. Not only did the guard get saved but his entire household as well!
How often we are so busy looking for deliverance and comfort from our circumstance that we miss God completely. God is looking to do miracles in our circumstances if we will only look for them. Sometimes as believers we get so obsessed with our goals that we miss the process that God involves us in……which may actually be where the miracle lies. What if a problem has arisen due to something God is doing beyond what you might see at this time? Maybe that person that’s annoying you is unsaved and is there for you to speak to? Our adverse situations can often be the door of spiritual opportunity for those who need it. It’s as if we as believers forget that there indeed aren’t chunks of time that God is not in…as if the situation is separate from Him and His work because the only thing out of our comfort zone where God is concerned is when He asks us to go to Africa. Not so! When God said, “….all things work together for good for those who are called according to His purposes” (Rom 8:28)….He meant all things. “Those who are called” means you, child of God. If Jesus is your Savior, you are indeed called, and He does have great purposes for you. It’s up to us to be faithful in the process.
In your next adversity (or maybe your facing one….or a couple right now) tune in your spiritual antennae and ask God for discernment to see the real purpose for the adversity.
And when they climbed into the boat, the wind died down. Matthew 14:32
We forget when we’re in the middle of the chaos, the calamity, the danger, the darkness, that the same God that just brought us this far, is the same God that’s in the boat with us as He’s coming to us as well.
Many of you have incredible storms, adversity in your life and you may be thinking, God, I did everything right, how did I end up in this storm? Every now and then He sends us into a storm to test us and to show us that there’s more in us than we even know or realize. It’s often in a storm that Jesus will come to us in a form that we don’t even recognize. They thought He was a ghost but it was the same Jesus that had just been on the mountain with them all day dividing fish.
The same God that has brought you this far is the same God that’s going to take you to the other side—the same God that has done those miracles in your life before is the same God that’s with you in that storm right now. He will give you the grace and protection to get you through—just don’t take your eyes off Him. The disciples picked up the remnants of the miracle of feeding the 5,000 men (estimated around 15,000 including women and children). Take the remnants of the miracles before the storm into the storms of the future and into your life every single day. God has brought you through some stuff. Just take a few minutes to stop and think of what He’s done before….brought you through….a sickness healed….relationship restored….some open doors that He made happen for you.
Remember that the same God that brought you through that is the same God that will bring you through this. Praise is your weapon.