What Does the Evidence Say?

What Does the Evidence Say?

During Saturday prayer services this morning, my pastor shared with those of us in attendance, a handout which discussed some research results by a Christian author named George Barna. The writer in the handout stated that he had concluded from Barna’s research that America is suffering from what he calls a “holiness deficiency”.  I love it when I meet up with my brothers and sisters in the Lord and find out that God is talking about the same thing to all of us. This is how it should be when we attend church services. The pastor or leader – whoever is ministering, should be confirming what God is speaking to His church as a whole in our private time with Him.1

God has really been dealing with my heart about being set apart and different from the world. I know He, through His Holy Spirit is calling His church up and out of the world. We are to live in the world, but not be of the world.2 We have higher standards that He is holding us accountable to. However, it seems that many leaders in the ministry today are not hearing this message. Therefore, the messages to their flock consists of what I call motivational speaking, and how we can be blessed in the natural. Sermons that make us feel good and don’t dare touch on the sin that is choking the very life out of the bride of Christ.  Sermons that are written and delivered carefully, so as not to offend anyone. The fear of man, through diminished attendance and tithes is what motivates many leaders today. Where is the fear of God in the church?  This is very dangerous ground.3 No wonder Barna’s research found that most American Christians are living lives that cannot be distinguished from non-believers. I also read something recently that indicated that Christians, themselves, are the strongest proof for Atheism – as there is no evidence of God in our lives. Our pastor posed a question today: “If you were arrested for being a Christian, would there be enough evidence to convict you?” Sadly, for most of the church, the answer would be a resounding, No!  We would be found “Not Guilty!”

It’s time for the church to get back to the basics. Let’s get into the Word and allow the Word to get into us, for it is the Word through the Holy Spirit which brings about change.4 Allow the Word to make a difference in our lives as we submit to God and follow, wholly, not partly (picking and choosing what we want to obey) His ways and His commandments.5  His Word promises that we will be blessed when we hunger after His ways.6 The world, and many in the church would have us believe that “it doesn’t take all that”.  That “I’m ok and You’re ok” giving lip service to God about how much we love Him as we sit in church once a week and sing songs led by the choir, read the scripture provided by the preacher, then close up our Bibles and go home and don’t give God or His Word a second thought until the next week.7  It’s time for the church to stand up and be healed; set apart and sanctified, and it all begins on our knees.8 America is waiting on us – the church. Please know this, that God is coming back for a church no less than the one He left. It is my prayer that God do such a work in me, change me so drastically that there is no doubt in anyone’s mind that I am a believer and follower of Christ. How I have profited both spiritually and naturally will appear to all and my life will be a living testimony to the goodness of God.  It is my prayer for the church that if any were to be arrested for being a believer, because of the difference God is making in each of our lives, there would be enough evidence to convict each of us, lock us up, and throw away the key! (then we wait for Peter’s angel) Meditate on and pray the scriptures found in this post. Pray for a hunger and thirst for righteousness in the church. All will be blessed!

Actions Sing Louder

Actions Sing Louder

No doubt, you’ve heard the expression “Actions speak louder than words”, and you know it means that what we actually do carries more weight than what we say we will do or what we say we believe.  As Believers, it is important that our actions line up with what we claim to believe – our faith.1  If we believe (have faith) in God and His Word (one in the same) then our actions should illustrate this belief. 

Jame 1:22 – But be ye doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving your own selves. 

As the above scripture implies, sometimes we think that because we know what the Word of God says,we believe that our faith is where it needs to be, when in reality, we are deceived because even though we know what the Word says, we aren’t doing what it says to do. For example, we will believe what He says about us, our loved ones, our finances and our future even though what we see with our natural eyes says the exact opposite2 When we walk around spouting negativity about ourselves and our circumstances instead of proclaiming the Word, with our actions we are showing God that we really don’t believe what His Word says. We are telling Him that we believe more in what we can see with our natural eyes. When we face hard times and we don’t know how things are going to turn out, do we complain to God “Woe is me” or do we confess that whether we need peace or finances we know He will provide whatever it is we need?3  When we are treated wrongly do we react with an eye for an eye or do we love in spite of? Are we long-suffering, or quick to anger and point out faults we see in others? Are we living a life filled with sin or pressing into a life free from sin?

As ambassadors for Christ and the Kingdom, we represent Him.4 When we illustrate our faith, we bring glory, honor and praise to God by thinking, saying and doing only what lines up with His Word. We are new creatures with new ways of thinking and acting. Otherwise we risk being a reproach and dishonoring God,5 and possibly turning others away from God rather than towards Him. Now rest assured God knows that we are not able to live His Word without His grace and His holy spirit – but all we have to do is ask for His help. If our hearts are sincere, His holy spirit, living within us, will bring about repentance and Christ-like behavior.6

When we think about giving glory, honor and praise to God we usually think about singing. Well your actions sing much louder than your words do. The words we sing, whether we have a gifted voice or whether we have the kind of voice that sounds best lifted up in the privacy of our own shower, will sound beautiful to God if they are backed up by our actions.  Not only should the words we sing give praise to God, but more importantly, our lives should sing a song of praise to Him. Let your lifesong sing to Him. You will be blessed!

 

So You Think You Know God

So You Think You Know God

Have you ever claimed to “know” someone when in reality the relationship you have with the person is only a casual acquaintance? Or even more probable in today’s society; your only interaction with them has been via social media? In today’s post I would like readers to take a closer look at the meaning of the word “know”. The dictionary provides at least two very different definitions: 1. Aware of through observation, inquiry or information, and 2. Have developed a relationship with (someone) through meeting and spending time with them; be familiar or friendly with. The first definition is the one that is appropriate to use when we are referring to knowledge gained through experience or education, whether it be formal or informal. However, we tend to use this definition casually when referring to our knowledge of people, and because of this we can have a false sense of knowing God.

The second definition is closer to what we should be using to evaluate our knowledge of God. Let me first say that I do not believe that we, in our mortal states, will ever reach a point that we will truly know God in all His glory.1,2  He is truly multifaceted and He does not want us putting Him into a box and thinking we have Him all figured out. However, I do believe that as long as we are in these mortal bodies that God wants us to strive (press) to know as much about Him as He will allow. He provided His Holy Spirit for that purpose,3 and His Word is full of His invitations to seek Him and learn of Him4,5

John 17:3 – This is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou has sent. 

With that being said, I would like to focus on the second definition and how the word “know” is used in the Bible. Take for example, the use of the word “knew” to describe Adam’s intimacy with Eve when she conceived Cain,6 and “knew not” to describe Joseph’s lack of intimacy and consummation with Mary until after the birth of Christ.7 Of course this is not to speak of the kind of relationship we would have with God, but an illustration of how the word “know” in the Bible means more about intimacy than about casualness.

This becomes really important when we look at the next example: Jesus tells us that there will be many people who will claim to know Him because of the miracles they performed in His name.8This scripture speaks to how many will be deceived because they believed they knew God because they operated in certain gifts. Having spiritual gifts and flowing in the anointing of God are very separate things from knowing God intimately. This becomes clear when Jesus says His response to them will be that He never knew them and to depart from Him.9

Don’t risk hearing those words “depart from me”. Don’t risk being destroyed and rejected by God for lack of knowledge of Him and His ways.10 God did not create any of us to be estranged from Him. He commands us to love Him above all else.11,12 What better way to show our love, admiration and reverence for Him, than by learning about Him and His ways; becoming intimate with Him. Begin to seek Him like you have never sought Him before – like your eternal life depends on it – you will be blessed!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year all! As another year comes to a close and a new year is on the horizon, many will take time to reflect and consider making resolutions for the upcoming year. Something that will improve their situation in some way; their finances, their health, their relationships, self esteem, etc. Whatever the resolution may be, some will be successful at keeping it, and some will not.  Why not take the pressure off yourself. Allow God  to determine what will be your accomplishments in 2017. You can do this by having this one resolution: Surrender all to God. Take the pressure off yourself to be successful and give it all to Him. Afterall, He created you and predestined you for His purpose1,2.

Romans 12:1 – I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable unto God, which is your reasonable service.

Some of us have heard from God regarding our purpose or calling. However, instead of continuing to listen and be led of God each day, we snatched the purpose from His hands, and in our own strength tried to bring it into fruition. Much like Abraham and Sarah did with God’s promise of an heir.  What a mess on so many levels! I was one of those people. I was trying to get to where He wanted me to be through my own power and might; my own way. Needless to say I got nowhere fast3. I became disillusioned and started questioning my faith in God and simply gave up. However, God is faithful and He led me back to Himself4, and I finally decided I was going to let God do it His way.  I surrendered everything that I could at that time. It’s so amazing though, that as we take the first steps in surrendering to God, He will show us other areas that we have held back from Him, unknowingly, and He will ask for those areas as well5. As we come to realize just how much He loves us and wants us to succeed, we will eagerly surrender more and more over to Him.

I watched God do some awesome things in my life in 2016, both spiritually and naturally, but mostly spiritually. He changed how I think about Him, about others and about myself. He revived dead dreams and desires that He had given to me, and He put a burning desire to learn His ways, and please only Him down in my spirit. Please know that God does not do anything fast, but He does do all things well. If you are looking for a quick road to success, you will be disappointed. God cares too much about you to let that happen. It all begins with His Word6 which has amazing power to change us from the inside out.  If you are ready to start and end the new year being in God’s will, take some time to pray; talk to Him and let Him know that you are surrendering 2017 to Him. If you are sincere, and stick with Him, I guarantee this will be your New Year’s resolution from here on out. Things may not always look good, and you may not always feel good, but God is always good, and you will be blessed!

Make A Deliberate Choice!

Make A Deliberate Choice!

We have to make a deliberate choice each day to serve God. When we awake each day and start our day off with God, then we are choosing Him. When we awake and do not start our day off with God, we are choosing our flesh and in choosing our flesh we are choosing to allow doors to be opened where satan can trip us up. Choosing God means giving Him the first fruits of our day; some quality time for His WORD, along with worship and prayer. What we may not realize is when we don’t seek God first about our day, we are giving control of our day over to our flesh. We are in essence saying: God I really don’t feel like it, have time, or really need to seek you first about my day today – I got this. I don’t know about the rest of you, but that is a scary thing to me. I don’t want my flesh to be in control of anything!

Joshua 24:15 – …choose you this day whom ye will serve…

God knows exactly what we are all going to face each day. When we spend that time with Him first, we allow Him to speak to our hearts, our minds and our spirits. We open the door to allow His precious WORD and His Holy Spirit in to lead and guide us. When our flesh is in control we open doors that allow satan to come in to bring confusion, doubt, and unbelief, and we say and do things that do not line up with the WORD of God. We put ourselves in position to possibly miss a spiritual or natural blessing. His WORD says that He will provide an escape for all of our temptations,1 but if we don’t take the time to listen to Him or spend time in His presence to receive His divine power and strength before the temptation comes, then we will most likely give in to our flesh.  (Temptations come in the form of not doing what we are supposed to do as well as doing what we know not to do.)

As I was reading the Proverb for today (chapter 27), verse 12 spoke to my heart about seeking God first each day, even when I don’t feel like it. The Holy Spirit let me know that it is wisdom to know that our flesh cannot be trusted, that it will open doors to allow evil to come upon us, but when we seek God and obey His WORD we are protected and will escape sufferings.2

Deliberately tell God that you want Him to be in charge of each day. Tell Him that He is not only your Savior but Lord over your life as well; that you have no other gods before Him and that He comes first.3 That means family, jobs, ministries, whatever, must take a back seat. If you struggle with rising early enough to allow quality time for Him, pray first that He give you the desire or increase your desire to do this, and then that He make a way for it to happen – He will do it!4  You will be blessed!

A Thanksgiving Recipe

A Thanksgiving Recipe

This is not your ordinary Thanksgiving recipe. It is not one that will yield a delectable, mouth-watering dish when all the ingredients have been added as directed. (Yay! – 0 calories!) It is exactly what it states; a recipe for thanksgiving – a recipe that is sure to leave you with a thankful heart. You will be blessed!

Psalms 138:1 – I will praise thee with my whole heart;

Ingredients:

1. Love – Desire to receive the Love of God and to cultivate an intimate relationship with Him. A relationship that causes you to start everyday seeking Him and His will. A relationship where He pours into you a thirst and hunger for Him that only being in His presence will satisfy, then leaves you wanting more.1

2. Humility – Desire that God reveal to you that we as humans (sinners) are NOTHING without Him. We know nothing, our hearts cannot be trusted, and we can do no good thing without Him and His love and wisdom.2

3. Fear God – Desire that God show you how to reverence Him and fear being out of His will. This includes respecting His ways and His WORD and despising anything that is contrary to it.3

4. Faith – Desire that God allow whatever it takes to come into your life that will increase your faith in Him and His WORD. The test and trials may not feel good when you are going through, but you will cherish the changes they will bring about in you, your life and most importantly, your relationship with Him. You will begin to recognize tests and trials as opportunities God is allowing for growth, and welcome them.4

Preparation:

If you already have these ingredients, I know you did not obtain them without praying and seeking Him. Continue to pray that God increase your desire for these things. If you are in need of these ingredients, begin to pray that God give them to you. He will do it.5

Fire:

Can you stand the heat! If you are praying for the above with a sincere heart, get ready and don’t be surprised. God will send His two-fold fire; to burn up those things in you that are unpleasing to Him, and also to refine you so you come forth as pure gold!6

Yield:

One truly, thankful heart!