"I am going to send you what my Father has promised; but stay in the city until you have been clothed with power from on high.” Luke 24:49
For several months now, I have had the Holy Spirit on my brain. Miraculously, there was a week where every single day my verse of the day was talking about the Holy Spirit. Not only that, but I was asked to be a substitute teacher for a bible study series at my church. Guess what the lesson that night was about? If you guessed the Holy Spirit, I owe you a coffee of something! I have been on a journey of God teaching me how to hear his voice. This is one of the ways he speaks to me. So I asked him "What's up God? What do you need to tell me?" The answer is simple; that I needed to be filled with the Holy Spirit. Not just being a person who has the Holy Spirit living in me but not used the helper that I have been given. There was one day I prayed before work asking God to fill me with His Spirit. I had been studying about the Holy Spirit and wanted to do a little experiment. I confessed my sins and my need to be filled, I told God that I was presenting my whole self (body, personality) for His use and then I asked to be filled. That day at work was probably one of the best days I can remember. I am one who gets easily irritated (I am working on this!) but regardless of the irritations of the day, I was still in a great mood. I was even speaking boldly for Christ at work and had the opportunity to share my faith with my co-workers. Here I am the manager pretty much breaking the rules in talking about God at work. Yet people were listening and wanting to learn more. When I go home that day I was thinking to myself "this was a really good day!" Then I remember that I had prayed for God to fill me with His Holy Spirit. It makes a big difference.
To this day, (and again, it's been months since I had that "Holy Spirit Week" understanding the Holy Spirit and allowing it to help me has been heavily on my mind. The scripture that I am reflecting on today, is one that popped up during the week of God speaking to me directly about the Holy Spirit. Jesus did A LOT of things while he was here on earth. He healed the sick, raised the dead, performed many signs and wonders and preached the Gospel. He also spent time developing His 12 disciples. Could you imagine spending so much time with someone, seeing them perform all of this amazing things, hearing the Good news directly from the good news himself and then being told that he was leaving and that he would die a death that would change the world? One can't be too upset with Peter when he told Jesus in so many words that "that would never happen to you!" However, we do understand that Jesus was so focused on the family business (that is the business of his father), that he had to rebuke Satan operating in Peter at that moment because it went against the will of God.
Yes it's true what Jesus told his disciples in preparation for his departure. In John 16:7, Jesus tells his disciples that it is to their benefit that he goes away because if he doesn't, then they will not receive the helper, the Holy Spirit. When the Holy Spirit comes, he will convict the world concerning sin, righteousness and judgement. So, we don't have to wish that Jesus was still on the earth physically. We have the spirit of God dwelling in us, a part of us to help us.
In Luke 24:49, Jesus tells the disciples to stay in the city until you have been clothed with the power from on high. This is such a remarkable scripture to me. He is telling us that we need the power of the Holy Spirit in order to do God's work and make major advances in the Kingdom of God. When we are filled with the Holy Spirit, it ignites different gifts in different people but every single time, no matter who you are and what gifts you have, the end result brings glory to Christ and attracts other people to him. When we give our lives to Christ, the spirit of God dwells in us. However, we may not be filled with the spirit of God at any present time. When we make the decision to align our will with God and yield to the guidance, training and teaching of God, God will take control of our lives and we will experience constant fellowship with God.
Having the Holy Spirit allows s to take up Christ's mission. We can only do that under the Spirit's leadership. When the Holy Spirit come in his fullness on our lives, at that point we are filled with the Holy Spirit and we are able to be bold in our work for God. Moments where we may be afraid, shy, or even go as far as Peter in denying Jesus, go out the window. We boldly proclaim the truths of God. I love this verse in Luke because it reminds us that we need to wait for the Holy Spirit's leading before we jump into things. I am guilty of doing that. I just jump and ending up failing because I was empowered by the Holy Spirit. Lately in my life I have been seeking God and listening asking Him if he wants me to go there or say this or do that. It's saved me a lot of time, money and emotions by listening and following the Holy Spirit's leading. The Holy Spirit helps us to understand the truths of God, recall Christ's teaching and be bold witnesses for Christ. 1 Corinthians 2:9-10 tells us that eyes haven't seen, ears haven't heard and no mind has conceived what God has prepared for those who love him BUT God has revealed it to us by His spirit. So with the spirit of God, he has made known to us truths that were not previously known to mankind because we are on the other side of Jesus' death, burial and resurrection.
How can we be filled with the Holy Spirit?
1. Confess our sin, disobedience, emptiness and our need to be cleansed by God.
2. Present our bodies to be made righteous instruments for God's use.
3. Ask God to fill, control and empower us and believe that he has answered our prayer.
Will you ask God to fill you today and everyday to accomplish tasks for him?
Now the Lord said to Abram, "Go from your country and your kindred and your fathers' house to a land that I will show you. - Genesis 12:1
So Abram went as the LORD had told him, - Genesis 12:4
Isn't this verse interesting? The chapter opens up with the Lord commanding Abram to go. The LORD told Abram to leave everything he has ever known and go to a place that God has shown him. God tells him everything that he is planning on doing for Him, making him a great nation, that he will bless him and that anyone who tries to mess with him, He will curse them. Then the bible says in verse 4, "So Abram went." It's as Simple as that right? God speaks, then we just get up and go.
In order to truly understand the relationship between God and Abram, we need to go back a little bit to Genesis 9. An incident happens here that changes the course of 3 brother's lives forever. In chapter 9, we see the aftermath of Noah and the ark. The waters have calmed and human beings and animals are roaming around on the earth. At this point in time, Noah decides that he is going to take up gardening. He plants a vineyard and in planting it, he ends up getting drunk. In hi drunkenness, he ends up asleep naked only to be found by his younger son Ham. Now Ham had a choice: 1. Help his father or 2. run and tell. Ham chose the latter. He went and told his older brothers Shem and Japeth the condition in which he found his father. Shem and Japeth, showing respect to their father, covered him. When Noah found out what happened, he cursed Ham stating that Ham will be a servants, servant. He gave blessings to Japeth and Shem but especially Shem. When we move forward to chapter 10, we can see that Abram is a descendant of Shem's lineage.
So why is this all important? And why did Abram choose to go? I wasn't there and didn't know Abram personally. However, I have a sneaking suspicion that Abram went simply because he knew God. Because he knew God, he trusted God. Think about this. If you ran into someone on the street today that you didn't know and they randomly told you to go to an address you weren't familiar with, would you go? Most likely not because you don't know that person. It's hard to trust someone you don't know. But if you best friend or your parent did the same thing, you would definitely go because you could trust them. This is the same case with Abram. He knew God because he came from a household who knew God. He came from a lineage who were not only concerned about his physical and mental development but His spiritual development. It was nothing for him to hear and obey the voice of God because he was use to hearing it. The bible says, Abram was Seventy-five years old when God told him to go. Abram had years of practice hearing God's voice. He also had years of hearing the stories of his ancestors (I wonder how many times he had heard the story about his grandfather and that great big boat!) You trust what you know. God wants us to be in tune with Him. He wants us to have history with Him and to know His history. He wants to show us His glory and to be glorified through our lives. The only way that can happen is through submission and obedience to Him. What do you need to do today to start developing History with God?
May the Lord our God continue to reveal Himself to us and the world has He draws us into deeper relationship with Him through His son Christ Jesus.
WHAT ARE SPIRITUAL GIFTS?
There are times in your life where you receive gifts because you gave someone a gift first. One example of this is secret Santa. Have you ever played that game? To make sure no one is left out, there has to be an even number of players who bring a gift to the party, You draw names, and whoever draws your name, gives the gift they bought to you. Spiritual Gifts do not operate in that manner. You may have also heard Spiritual Gifts referred to as "Grace Gifts" Grab you bible or tap in your app to 1 Corinthians 12:4-14.
Verse 4 uses the Greek word "charismata" which translates as gifts of grace. This lets us know that Spiritual Gifts or Grace Gifts are given from the love of the giver, not the merit of the person who is receiving the gifts. In Romans 12:6 Paul says "We have different gifts, according to the grace given us." In other words, we aren't given these gifts based on God's needs or even His requirements. We are simply given these gifts based on his His love and grace for us!
I'll give you a moment to praise God now for once a gain giving us all something that we don't deserve!
In short, Spiritual gifts are spiritual abilities given to believers by the Holy Spirit to equip them to carry out God's work in the world.
HOW SPIRITUAL GIFTS ARE GIVEN
Everyone who is a believer in Christ Jesus is given at least one gift. 1 Peter 4:10 tells us that each one should use whatever he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God's grace in it's various forms. Everyone is important to God. We should never look down on ourselves or think that we will never be able to do anything significant for God. We should come to realize that we are somebody in God's grace. We are His children whom He loves very much. Due to these facts, we should exercise our gifts in ministry by, as Peter stated, serving others.
You don't get to pick your gift. And if you have trouble accepting your gift, you don't get to take it back to the customer service department in Heaven to get an exchange. God distributes His gifts as He thinks best. One thing to keep in mind is that because we have done nothing to earn these gifts or work for them, we have no right to brag about our gifts either. We are one body, with Christ as the head with many parts. Each part of the body exists to serve the whole and God knows how each part can be best used. All of these parts are important and must work together to advance God's plan for His people. Paul advises us in 1 Corinthians 14:12 "Since you are eager to have spiritual gifts, try to excel in gifts that build up the church". Remember, the church is the people not the building. Are gifts should be used to build each other up, not tear each other down. Jesus commissioned us to go into the world, and draw other to Him. How can we do that if we are using the grace gifts God has given us to cause more damage than good? How can we do that if we are sitting our gifts on the shelf and not using them at all?
HOW ARE YOU USING YOUR GIFTS?
Grab your bible again and open it up to Matthew 25:14-30. This passage of scripture is the parable of the talents. This scripture serves as purpose to teach us that we will be help responsible for the way we use our gifts. Take a moment to read this passage then answer the following question:
If God asked you at this moment: "Did you faithfully use the gifts I gave you?" What would your answer be to that question?
DEVELOPING YOUR GIFTS
Keep in mind that even though we have been given these gifts, there is still work for us to do. We should be "stirring up" our gift (Paul gives Timothy this advice in 2 Timothy 1:6). We should also practice and immerse ourselves in our gifts so that everyone can see our progress (more sound advice from Paul.) We also need to be very careful in how we conduct ourselves and the things that we say. 1 Timothy 4:15 says to keep a close watch on yourself and on the teaching. Stick to what God is saying and don't wander off down your own path or what you think is wisdom. Wisdom comes from God and if it truly is a prophetic word, we should be able to go back into the word of God and find it there. 1 John 4:1 states that we should test the spirits to make sure that it is coming from God. There are counterfeits out there.
HOW CAN YOU FIND OUT YOUR GIFT
1. Believe you are gifted. Again, everyone who is a believer has at least one gift.
2. Pray. The bible says that if you want to know something, ask God. He wants to tell you!
3. Discover your gifts in addition to praying, you can take a spiritual gift assessment (link is below). You may be surprised to find that you have already been operating in your gift and you were not even aware of it!
4. Accept Responsibility for using your gifts. Do as the bible commands. There are many gifts as believers we should be using regardless of whether we are gifted in those areas or not (evangelize, show mercy, encourage, give, help). As we begin to be obedient in those areas, the Holy Spirit may reveal other gifts that we were not initially aware of that we possess.
5. Accept the confirmation of others. Often times, people can see things about you before you are able to. Pay attention when multiple people are saying the same thing about you. They may be being used by God in that moment to help you come to some realizations about yourself. Remember God is the source of wisdom. Just because someone says they think you're a preacher or teacher doesn't necessarily mean you are. Allow God to speak to you on these matters. God is your friend and He wants to lead you to and through this!
There are so many Christians who live in a space where they are unaware of their spiritual gifts. When gifts go unused or neglected, there is a potential for great waste! Take your gift off the shelf, dust it off and put it on. It looks so good on you! When you see a gift in a fellow believer, encourage them to do the same. A church filled with believer who exercise their spiritual gifts in a loving way is a church that experiences unity.
I will share more lessons on Spiritual Gifts soon! In the meantime, take the survey below and then comment what your gifts are. If you already know your gifts, I would love to hear from you as well! Love you all <3
Spiritual Gifts Survey: file:///C:/MGR%20Backup/Downloads/DOC-Spiritual-Gifts-Survey.pdf
FOCUS SCRIPTURE: ROMANS 8:22-28 THE MESSAGE
Two years ago I wanted to quit working in the youth ministry. There was an issue with one of the girls in SPICE and feeling disrespected and angry, I decided that I didn’t want or have to deal with that. I also felt that things weren’t going the way I wanted them to go. To me, it was time to switch paths and like many times before (at least according to my own wisdom at the time), I was just the girl to make things happen. I weighed out my options: I could continue doing something that was causing me frustration, irritation and failure in my own eyes or, move on to something I felt would be a “better fit”. In this particular instance, I decided instead of making an emotionally charged decision, I would go to God and seek permission to leave the youth ministry. I had my reasons why and presented them to God. His answer was not yes. His answer was not no but a firm WAIT.
In Romans 8 we see Paul describing our human condition. We constantly long for more out of life. In this microwave society, not only do we want more, but we want more now. The feeling of lack can cause great pain. The weight of the wait can be so heavy that we wonder if we will be able to stand it much longer. Paul reminds us of the excitement in the waiting period. Instead of looking at what we don’t have or where we have not YET arrived, we embrace the journey of knowing that the Holy Spirit in enlarging us from within and preparing us for greater things; things we can’t even begin to fathom. The text says meanwhile, (so while we are being enlarged and yes that can be painful), when the weight from waiting gets too heavy and we start weighing out our options, God steps in and intercedes on our behalf (1 Corinthians 12:9). Those moments in leadership and ministry when we are too frustrated, hurt or tired to pray, God makes prayers in us and for us. He knows us better than we know ourselves so He knows just how to pray for us.
In life and in leadership we need to learn to step out of our own way and cooperate with God to bring HIS vision to light. We deliberately miss out on our own personal promise land because we give up too quickly or move on to things we are not yet ready for. Know that the work that God started in us, he WILL see through until completion (Philippians 1:6). We can have full confidence during the weight of the wait knowing that once we come full term, we will have joy in our deliverance to what God is calling us to.
Will you trust in the one who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to his power that is at work within us?
ADDITIONAL READING: Micah 7:7 Psalm 25:5 Psalm 27:4 2 Peter 3:9 Proverbs 18:16
What did Samuel tell you? He told us that the donkeys had been found. But Saul did not tell him anything about the kingdom of anything else Samuel had said. - 1 Samuel 10:15-16 (The Voice Translation)
For the last 7 years, I have worked in property management. In these years there has been a couple of things perplexing to me. One being that people always leave their stuff behind. There’s several different reasons for this 1. They don’t want to move their heavy stuff or they just want to move less stuff or 2. They simply want to start over fresh in a new place with new stuff.
In 1 Samuel chapter 10, we see Saul on the move. However, he’s not quite ready to get rid of all of his stuff and start over fresh. When God told Samuel that Saul was to be King, Samuel prophesied things that he would experience and see on his journey to kingship and all of those signs came true. Verse 9 says that God changed Saul’s heart. Later on in the chapter he stumbles upon some like minded changed folks and in the midst of that he began to experience God in a way that he never had before. He was so filled with the Spirit of God that folks did just as they do now, gossip wondering what’s gotten into him? And who is his daddy? You know sometimes people will try to make you illegitimate based on your family, socioeconomic status and education. But Saul stayed in the spirit and ignored them…until he went back home.
I wonder how Saul felt when he returned back home. Maybe his grandfather was a donkey herder and his father and that’s just what he is destined to be as well. Maybe he thought “Who me? How could I be king?” And in his fear, when his uncle asked him, “what did the seer (Samuel) say to you?” Saul told him the donkey’s had been found but he didn’t mention the kingdom business. Nevertheless, what is so exciting about God is that when he has a work for you to do, he will see it through until completion. So although Saul hid himself among what he was use to; the baggage (1 Samuel 10:22). God brought him out head and shoulders above the rest and used him in a powerful way to fulfill the promise he made to Abraham many years prior (Galatians 3:7-9, 16)
I want to encourage you today to step out in faith and into God’s purpose for your life. Jesus said let the dead bury the dead but YOU go and proclaim the kingdom of God (Luke 9:60 NIV) Don’t return to the same old home with the same old stuff. Leave the old stuff behind (Philippians 3:13) Instead, start a new home and feel the confidence and immense safety that can only be found in Christ.
I know that each person’s walk with God is personal but over the past 2 years I feel I have been more in tune with God then I ever have in my entire life. I am a Pastor’s Kid and have been in church before I was even born! However, I heard God speak directly to me only 4 years ago. That was only the first time I actually listened. He had been speaking the whole time. Over the past 2 years I have literally been through so much both publicly and privately. Throughout those times, I have known that God is in control of my outcome but that is only because of my attempts (successes and utter failures) at commitment to him. It is hard to keep the faith sometimes when it seems as though everything goes wrong all at once. When things we desperately wanted are taken from us because it’s not God’s will for our lives it sucks initially. I’m just being honest. It’s hard to accept God’s will when our will is opposite of his. But when our will lines up with his that’s when we can start enjoying the personal journey God has for us. When we stop saying “churchy” phrases because they sound good and decide that just as Adam and Eve were naked before God and were not ashamed, we should be the same. It’s okay to be vulnerable. There were so many areas of my life over the last 2 years that were messy due to me operating in my own power and not God’s. On December 17 of last year I stood in front of my church and announced the call God has put on my life to share the words he gives to me to his people. Not only that but he told me the words he gives to me I must receive them in MY OWN HEART. A little over a year from that day, God has given me a word and reminded me (although I never forgot but tried to continue my life and hide from what I know is true). 2 Corinthians 8:11. The same word I received I share with you. Finish what you started last year. Don’t let your passion grow stale! God has already equipped you and your heart is in the right place. But your commitment needs to be clear.
Once your commitment is clear you will fully be able to do what you thought you couldn’t! Let your heart dictate what your hands will do. Let us stop being mediocre Christians. God is calling us all to rise up and come to the knowledge of the truth immediately! Don’t wait until it is too late and don’t be afraid to do what he is requiring of you. Fear is a tactic of the adversary but we won’t be stopped. We will not accept fear from the enemy! Everyone won’t read this because it’s long and some won’t read simply because it’s about God but the ones who need to hear it, read and be blessed!
Here’s my instruction: walk in the spirit, and let the spirit bring order to your life. If you do, you will never give in to your selfish and sinful cravings.” -Galatians 5:16, The Voice
There is a Christmas cartoon that I love called Santa Claus is coming to town. In this particular televised Christmas special, Chris Kringle (who has since been banished from town for refusing to stop making toys) runs into the Winter Warlock. The Winter Warlock tells Chris that he really is a mean, old creature at heart and it is really difficult to change. Chris Kringle tell him that it’s not difficult to change. It’s actually as easy as taking your first step. With a jolly laugh ( true Santa style), he breaks into song a dance singing “put one foot in front of the other/and soon you’ll be walking ‘cross the floor/put one foot in front of the other/and soon you’ll be walking out the door.”
There comes a time when we all get set in our ways. Like the Winter Warlock, we feel it’s too difficult to change. Maybe that’s because we have dealt with the same things and attitudes for so long it feels as though it’s ingrained in our DNA. In Galatians chapter 5, Paul preaches about God’s call on our lives to freedom. That’s because of Jesus’ sacrifice, we no longer have to be bound by the weight of sin or the law. Why do we refuse to accept this? Why do we continue living in ways that we know are not pleasing to God and do not bear fruit of the Spirit? It’s simply because we choose to live in slavery; shackled by our burdens and attitudes. When we choose to live by our own plans and projects, we risk being but off by God’s favor and grace. (Gal. 5: 4). Even writing that makes me shutter. I couldn’t imagine being shut off from God’s favor and grace. God has called us to a free life but that does not mean that we are given permission to do whatever we like. Paul tells us to WALK in the Spirit. Walking requires action. Knowingly and willingly putting one foot in front of the other each day. Denying ourselves, plans, motivations, taking up our cross on a daily (some days minute by minute) basis and following the example Christ has set before us. Even when we do fall, getting back up and making every effort to continue walking in our ever growing relationship with Christ.
The second part of this verse tells us to let the Spirit bring order to our lives. I can fully admit that I have tried my best to bring order to my own life. But I have soon realized that as organized as I think I am, it’s only false order compared to the divine organizational skills of the Holy Spirit. The bible says, if you allow the Spirit to lead your life, you will never give in to your selfish and sinful cravings (Gal. 5:16). Listen to me, we can’t be lukewarm. God makes that pretty clear. Revelations 3:16 (NIV) states because you are lukewarm–neither hot nor cold–I am about to spit you out of my mouth. The things that our flesh desires go directly against the desires of the Spirit. We are in constant battle with what the Spirit requires and what our flesh desires. Paul tells us in Romans 7:15 (NIV) that what we want to do (Spirit) we do not do but what I do (Flesh) I hate to do.
We are given a long list of fleshly desires and it all ends with Paul sternly telling us that he doesn’t want us to get it twisted at all. anyone who gives in to these ways will not inherit the kingdom of God. You may be sitting there looking over Galatians 5:19-21, reading that list and feeling a bit discouraged. Don’t be discouraged. The good news is, the Spirit gives us a way out. The Spirit reminds us of the characteristics of Jesus, and enables us to act on them so that we can be truly right with God. What are the characteristics of Jesus? Love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control (Gal. 5:2-23). These characteristics are a package deal. We can’t truly have any of these without the other and it all starts with love.The greatest virtue to characterize our lives is love. When you love, you get joy. When you have joy, you have peace. With peace, you have more patience. When you’re patient, you’re kinder. Kindness helps you to express goodness. And we all know when you’re good you’re faithful. Faithfulness helps you to be gentle and gentleness produces self-control. Through experience and God’s word, which is always true, I know there is no law against these things and there never will be.
We fall down. We make mistakes and sometimes just blatant disobedience. But it’s important to remember that when we do stumble in our walk, we stand back up, and continue putting on foot in front of the other. We may feel as though we are not making much progress but before we know it, we will look up, and see that we are through the door. We must not get bogged down with the weight of our mistakes. Learn from them, forget what has passed and press forward to reach the mark of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus our Lord.
We are not withholding our affection from you, but you are withholding yours from us." -2 Corinthians 6:12
I love music. I also love a good remake. I’ve been loving the remakes of Robin S’ Show Me Love. Two of my favorite versions are by Clean Bandit and the other by Sam Feldt. Although between both of those remakes the artists style is different, the remakes stayed true to Robin’s expressions of how she desperately wants to be loved.
We like music for various reasons; instrumentation, lyrics, feeling and I definitely feel this song. Being in my late 20’s and unmarried (while many of my friends from high school and people younger than me have been married for a few years now with children), when I hear this song, I can’t help but think about my past failed relationships and what went wrong. One of my favorite parts of this song is the lyrics:
If you’re looking for devotion
Talk to me
Come with your heart in your hands
Because my love is guaranteed
Tonight in my personal bible study, I came across a gem from my favorite Paul. In 2 Corinthians 6:12, Paul is telling the people of Corinth that they are not restricted by him and his teachings. Rather, they are restricted by their own affections to it. Does that sound familiar? Are there times when we are not willing to be affectionate towards something or someone because we are holding back? It’s definitely easier and more comfortable to blame someone else or something else for our standoffish-ness (definitely a word I just made up) instead of digging a little deeper and seeing that the lack of that affection is because we are creating space in between.
When God sent his only son to pick up our tab on the cross, Jesus wiped that awkward, in between space out. So why are we so adamant about keeping it there? If our debt has been paid and we can truly thrive and not strive, why are we walking around with a heavy heart and creating space between our fellow brothers and sisters in Christ? Why are we creating space between ourselves and God?
I think Robin S said it best.
We aren’t starting our devotion with the one who created love and affection. I hear God saying to us, if you’re looking for devotion, come to me. Come with your heart in your hands (you know, that whole total surrender thing?) because my love will never let you down. If we could have that much confidence in God with our hearts as we do roaming and searching for something or someone else to give our hearts too, I have a feeling there would be a lot more people healed.
Let’s break it down so it will forever be broken.
When you’re devoted to something, you are loyal, faithful and true. All those things we look for in bae right? Well God is the textbook example of faithfulness. #thatsBAE He has always been the same. Never switched up. Never played us to the left. Never strung us a long. His word even says He’ll never leave us or forsake us. And speaking of His word, He’s never uttered one word He hasn’t kept and doesn’t plan on keeping.
In order to be in a successful relationship, communication is key. Not just one sided communication, but speaking your honest and true thoughts and feelings and then listening. God is loyal and faithful and these characteristics make it easy for us to be able to talk to Him about anything! What an amazing feeling to know and feel free to be ourselves flaws and all before Him and knowing without a doubt that He won’t change up on us.
When we come to God with our heart in our hands, we come in total surrender. Giving our heart to God so He can make it new. Cleansing us from the inside a really good deep clean, that it has no choice but to come spurting out on the outside. When total surrender takes place, that in between space we were talking about disappears. We are no longer restricted by our unwillingness to be affectionate. Instead, we are propelled in being collaborators with Christ. Opening ourselves up to new relationships with other people who may not look, talk or act like us. Relationships means we have the opportunity to demonstrate the immense love and patience God gives us to others.
And last but certainly not least, God’s love is a love that we know we can hang our hat on. His care for us gives us a safe place to rest our head. Knowing that He cares so deeply for us that He makes sure we get home safe, and opens doors and communicates to us what we need to hear not necessarily what we want to hear. When we are doing right He’s so supportive and when we are wrong, He gently puts us back in the right direction. He is always protective,never loses faith, is always hopeful and a freely provides a love that always endures (1 Corinthians 13:7).
So, if you’re looking for true devotion, bring your heart to God. Let’s challenge ourselves to not allow our own restrictions block our affections or take God’s grace for us in vain. Allow God to open up our heart so we can show some love.
Do you think the time is right for you to live in secure and lavishly covered homes when my house still lies in a heap of rubble? Think very carefully about your choices.” Haggai 1:4-5
“Go up to the mountains and bring down trees to make lumber and build my house.” Haggai 1:8
I love oatmeal raisin cookies. It’s by far the best cookie in my opinion. As a little girl, my mom use to make them for me and put them in a little metal tin when I would have overnight band competitions. We’d also make them along with sugar cookies on Christmas Eve for Santa. It was especially great because in my family, no one loves them more than me which meant more for me! When I think about blending all those ingredients together: the butter, brown sugar, raisins and of course you can forget the oatmeal, it creates a very sweet treat that’s pleasing to my soul.
What would an oatmeal raisin cookie be without the oatmeal? Sure the other ingredients would still exist but would we be able to call that sloppy gooey mess an actual cookie? We certainly wouldn’t be able to put the cookie batter in the oven and expect a sweet treat without all the proper ingredients in order.
We often try to live our lives that way. Taking short cuts and cutting God out. We tend to believe that we are ready for all of the blessings and lifestyles God can provide for us while we leave our relationship with him in ruins. We are great then we’re not. God delivers us and we forget about him all over again. At least until that next time we need him. In Haggai 1:8 God is reminding us, that since we are at the top of that mountain, (FYI, we got to the top because of Him) we might as well gather some wood so we can build his temple back. Each time God delivers us, it’s an opportunity to grow closer to him and to draw others closer to Him. All the ingredients of our lives form and mold together around that essential ingredient that is Christ.
Who would make an oatmeal raisin cookie without oatmeal? Sound like a bad choice to me. I challenge you to keep God the main ingredient in your life and reap all of the sweet joys of knowing Him.
Thought of the Day
I will praise God for grace and reconciliation
Lord, Draw Me into a Closer Walk with You
Was I fickle when I intended to do this? Or do I make plans in a worldly manner so that in the same breath I say both yes, yes and no, no? – 2 Corinthians 1:17
There are times in our lives when we do things we aren’t aware of. Loving people has turned into an automatic response instead of deliberate action. Something that really sticks out to me is when Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians that love should be sincere. I am a little embarrassed to admit that I wasn’t quite sure what he meant by that. After all, I felt as though I was a sincere, protective and passionate person. In reading this verse I realized how insincere I am. In loving someone else, I am quick to manipulate a situation to avoid conflict or to have the odds in my favor. I have definitely been known to not give a straight forward answer; some times I say one thing and mean another. These passive aggressive characteristics about me do not show sincerity. Have you ever examined yourself to see your own sincerity? In 2nd Corinthians 1:17, Paul explains to the people of Corinth that he wasn’t being fickle in his decision to not come back and see them. In the New International Version the words “worldly plans” are used. Paul’s plans, thoughts, and emotions weren’t worldly. He didn’t have a worldly motive in his decision not to come back at that time or response to the people’s anger.
One thing that is so inspiring about Paul is that he claimed to be a follower of Christ and the proof was in the pudding. When we say that we want to follow Christ, it doesn’t mean that we are perfect. However, we strive to be like Christ daily. Even when we mess up, we know that we can go to our Heavenly Father and repent and be forgiven. In our repentance, we move past whatever was holding us back from experience true joy in Christ. By representing Christ, we put on Christ’s nature. In Christ, the answer is always yes.
God is faithful. He doesn’t switch up on us because He’s in a bad mood (Thank God for that!) Whatever God promises us, will come to pass. As followers of Christ, our word and life should be the same; faithful. Are we fickle? Do we make worldly plans or are we motivated by the Holy Spirit? Do we say yes and no in the same breath? Do we defend ourselves for the joy of others or out of our own fear, anger, frustration and advancement? Even if we don’t mean it on purpose, our words can say one thing and actions say another. If God’s answer to us is Yes in Christ, than we should strive to be as sincere and as honest to each other just as God is to us.
My mother often ends her prayers in the same fashion. I will end this with a verse we all know. Let’s ponder this as we move forward in being more sincere and honest with ourselves, each other and God. May the words of our mouth’s and the meditations of our hearts be acceptable in Your sight oh Lord, our redeemer.
Jennifer is a student and teacher of the bible who lives in Louisville, KY. She believes that strongly believes in maturing the saved.