Imagining Good?

1 Jun

While speaking with a co-worker days after he had fallen at work, his imagined scenarios circled in my head. He said that if he had hit his head, an ambulance would’ve been called. He would have been out of work for a while. Someone would’ve needed to call his wife. And the “what if” scenes continued to flow until I thought it was time to just be thankful that none of those possibilities were his reality.

As annoyed as I was by what felt like a negative conversation, reflecting upon those words caused me to examine my own thought process. How much time have I spent imagining negative scenarios?

Now the question is, how much time do you waste visualizing undesirable outcomes as well?

First, scripture teaches us that as Christians, our thought life should differ from the worlds. “ Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” (Ro. 12:2)

A great test that helps determine if our thoughts are in line with God’s will is found in Philippians 4:8. Is the thought true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy? Is the thought in obedience to Christ? If it isn’t, we should take the thought captive, and not allow it to take us. (II Cor. 10:5).

Lastly, is the thought in line with something we’re praying and hoping for? Since “God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think,” we shouldn’t waste our valuable moments of life imagining things that we don’t want to happen. (Ephesians 3:20)

Again, is the thought true, noble, right, pure, lovely, admirable, excellent or praiseworthy? Can God bring it to pass? Yes He can, according to His will.

Not only imagine, but “know”, “and we know that God causes all things to work together for good to those who love God, to those who are called according to His purpose”.(Romans 8:28) God is causing all things to work together for your good (NOT BAD) according to His purpose. Start imagining that!

2 Timothy 1:7 God Did Not Give Us a Spirit of Fear - Bible Verses To Go
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Pharisee or Fair-I-See?

17 May

PHAR’ISEE, n. Heb. to separate. One of a sect among the Jews, whose religion consisted in a strict observance of rites and ceremonies and of the traditions of the elders, and whose pretended holiness led them to separate themselves as a sect, considering themselves as more righteous than other Jews. Definition from Webster’s American Dictionary of the English Language, 1828.

Based upon the statement above, are you, or have you ever been a Pharisee? Well, let me begin by admitting I have.

Unfortunately, I have looked upon the sins of others, and become bitter and judgmental. In that moment, I was a Pharisee. But this just isn’t “fair I see”, because self-examination reminds me that I sin too.

A story in Luke 7 (36-50) introduces us to Simon, a Pharisee who – until Jesus reminded him, forgot that he sinned as well.

This Pharisee invited Jesus to his home for a meal. “Just then a woman of the village, the town harlot, having learned that Jesus was a guest in the home of the Pharisee, came with a bottle of very expensive perfume and stood at his feet, weeping, raining tears on his feet. Letting down her hair, she dried his feet, kissed them, and anointed them with the perfume.” (The Message Bible Version)

Her tears, I believe, expressed sorrow and regret for the life she lived, and for the love she had for Jesus. She cared not that she would be judged by Simon, the Pharisee. She had met The Savior, and in that moment nothing else mattered.

Yet, those tears had a cleansing, victorious impact. For she cried at the feet of the One who has the power to forgive, restore, heal and deliver. She cried at the feet of the One who blessed her with a new life.

Simon the Pharisee’s limited vision only saw the woman’s past. Jesus saw her future.

Simon’s self-righteousness clouded his vision. He failed to follow custom and honor Jesus as his guest, neglecting to wash his feet, to greet Him with the customary kiss and to anoint Him.

Simon did not see Jesus as Lord and Savior. He thought “if” this man Jesus were a prophet, He would have known the woman was a sinner. Simon’s blinded eyes caused him to forget he too was in need of this Savior.

The love Jesus has for us is not “fair I see”, because it includes me, and you, and everyone else too, despite our sin. The love of Jesus does not bind people with a past. It releases them to write His-tory, to live abundantly, to love Jesus. And to love others. It’s the kind of love that’s not fair, but thank God we can see, and love.

Prayer: Gracious Heavenly Father, forgive me for the times I was a Pharisee help me to love you so much that my eyes and heart are open to love, not judge those around me. May I always remember that I am saved by grace, and as Your Ambassador, extend this grace to others that they too would be saved, for your love isn’t fair I see, it’s fabulous. Make me more like you. In Jesus name. Amen.

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Consider The Source

26 Mar

As you move full speed ahead into blessings, be careful to consider the source of every “blessing” . Keep in mind that Satan offers gifts that appear as blessings, but with a hidden price.

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Perfect example, after Jesus was baptized, He was led by the Holy Spirit into the wilderness to be tempted by the devil. After fasting 40 days and nights, Jesus was hungry. Satan urged Jesus to turn stones into bread. (Math. 4:1-11)

There’s nothing wrong with eating after a fast. It’s the “how”, in the invitation. Satan urged Jesus to use His power to make bread. Being full of The Holy Spirit, Jesus refused to provide food for Himself using Satan’s suggested method, considering the source and the timing to be evil. Be sure your blessings are derived God’s way, in His timing, not through manipulation, bribery, or deceitfulness.

Satan offered Jesus power and glory, if only Jesus would worship Him. For us, power and glory is equivalent to the world’s definition of “success”. But what is success, except the fulfillment of God’s will in your life? Besides this, Jesus knew that power and glory already belonged to Him. Success belongs to you, as follow Jesus’ will for your life, acknowledging Him in all your ways.

Man in Blue Suit

Lastly, Satan advised Jesus to cast Himself down from a peak, allowing angels to catch Him. For us this could mean engaging in risky behaviors, expecting God to rescue us because we are His. It could be as simple as speeding through red lights, confident that we won’t have an accident.

Perhaps you’re considering purchasing a home with costs above your income, assuming that God will help you pay the mortgage. Or maybe, quitting your job and starting your own business before saving enough to keep you going. It could even mean engaging in a risky relationship counting on God to help you change the person, when the truth is, we can’t change anyone.

Consider the source of your “blessings”. Like Jesus, know the word of God so that you’re prepared to discern between blessings from God, and lusts derived from the flesh. God wants to bless you. Satan wants to trap you. Consider the source!

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Are you Paying Close Attention?

1 Feb

During my college days, one of my professors excitedly said “pay close attention” whenever we discussed a topic we were sure to find again on an exam. The professor wanted everyone to excel in his class. He took such joy in making sure we were actually present, not just physically, but mentally during class.

Our Heavenly Father, God, is even more excited when we “pay close attention” to His word.  And yes, God still speaks.

He speaks in countless ways. Sometimes it’s through the Holy Spirit deep within us. Other times it may be a faint whisper. He speaks through His word, through dreams, visions, as well as through people.

Unfortunately, we are sooo busy these days until we’ve frequently missed messages at times when we should have “payed close attention”.

Like the professor, Our Father desires that we pass every exam, or trial so to speak. However, if we aren’t making time to read, to pray, and to listen carefully we are missing out on being filled with God’s will and His strength that will enable us to pass the tests that life brings.

You may be wondering how you can be sure that our Father is attempting to get a specific message across to you. God confirms His messages. If you hear a message repeated, no matter how simple, more than likely, this message is designed uniquely to encourage and strengthen you.

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For example, a family member shared an awesome testimony stating that we need to remember how God worked things together for us in the past, and know that He will work out our current circumstance too. Later that day, I read similar words in a devotional. I realized that God was speaking and wanted me to “pay close attention”!

What message has our Father attempted to get across to you? No matter what you’re facing today, “pay close attention” knowing that the Lord will bring you through stronger, moving you from faith to faith (Ro. 1:17), and glory to glory (II Co. 3:18) as you “pay close attention” to the messages He’s sending specifically to encourage and strengthen you, enabling you to pass the tests of life.

My son, pay attention to what I say; turn your ear to my words. Do not let them out of your sight, keep them within your heart; for they are life to those who find them and health to one’s whole body.
Proverbs 4:20-22

Pray For…

25 Dec

It’s so easy to get caught up in praying for myself, my family, my friends, and my church family.

 

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While it’s true, we should continuously pray for those closest to us, our prayers should extend outside of our family and friends. We should pray for our leaders, including pastors, supervisors, government officials, police officers, and oh yes, by the way – we should pray for everyone. Yes, you read correctly, the Lord expects us to pray for everyone.

The Lord recently convicted me, reminding me that my prayers have not been broad enough. What a wake up call. It’s a call that I answered and take seriously. He’s calling you too right now to extend your boarders.

Xiamen, Slum Dwellers

The problem with many of us is that we look around and complain about the happenings in the world. How quickly we forget that we know the answer to every injustice, crime, immorality, infirmity, mental illness and poverty.

Children Of War, Hungry, Sadness

 

There’s One answer. For there is ONE God, and ONE mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus, who gave Himself a ransom for all, to be testified in due time. (2 Tim. 2:5)

Printable Cross PicturesGod wants us to have His heart for the world, not condemnation, but mercy, just as He has mercy on us. He desires that we pray for everyone!

Therefore I exhort first of all that you make supplications, prayers, intercessions, and thanksgivings for everyone, for kings and for all who are in authority, that we may lead a quiet and peaceful life in all godliness and honesty,  for this is good and acceptable in the sight of God our Savior, who desires all men to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth. (1 Tim. 2:1-4)

Its starts with us. Let us humble ourselves and pray and seek His face, turning from our sins. Then the Lord we hear us, forgive our sins and heal our land. Let us pray! II Chronicles 7:14.

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The Power of Your Song

30 Oct
I’ve come to realize the days I don’t feel like singing are the days I need to sing most.
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Before knowing Jesus, I “sang the songs that made the whole world sing” with Barry Manilow. Maybe you’ve never heard of him. But surely you’ve heard of another of my old favorites, Stevie Wonder and “I’ll Be Loving You Always”.
Now, I awake hearing songs in my soul such as Hawk Nelson’s  “Live Like You’re Loved” and Hillsong’s “So Will I”.
Jesus changed my song, just as He changed my life. He surrounds me with songs of deliverance. (Psalm 32:7). His songs confirm that all is well, even when my natural eyes only see the opposite.(ll Corinthians 5:7)
There’s a Bible story that clearly demonstrates the power of deliverance through songs along with prayers. The disciples were beaten and thrown into jail after delivering a young lady from a spirit of divination. They began to praise God through prayers and songs. Consequently there was an earthquake that shook the place, opening all of the jails doors and loosening every chain. Everyone was set free! (Acts 16:26)
Many of us are not inclined to pray and sing when we feel as though we’re beaten by our circumstances. If we could only get our eyes off our situations and focus on the Lord, hope would rise. Worshiping the Lord, especially when we don’t feel like it can produce power that delivers us and those around us from a victim mentality into victory.
Be intentional about your song in good times, for those songs can be used in trying times to deliver you from depression and oppression into spiritual victory. You may even set someone else free.
So what are you singing today? Are you singing at all?  It’s not too late for change.  Sing a song unto Him who is our Song and gain strength, delivering you into a place of miracles. (Isaiah 12:2, Psalm 118:14, Exodus 15:2 Psalm 28:7)
“He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God; Many will see and fear And will trust in the LORD.” (‭‭Psalm‬ ‭40:3‬ ‭NASB‬‬)

Do You Love ME?

23 Sep

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Throughout my life, I’ve encountered challenges that overwhelmed me, almost taking my breath away. During those devastating moments, one unspoken question permeated the  atmosphere. It’s as though the Lord would ask through tough times “Do you still love ME”?

For example, I hate moving. Having lived in a few states, packing, loading, pulling up roots, friends, and familiar places is not my idea of a good time. Yet, I’ve done just that too many times. I’m thankful that by God’s grace, I’ve always had a roof over my head. Nevertheless, within the last four years, I’ve moved three time for reasons beyond my control!

During the last move, I consulted with four real estate agents and a government agency, none of whom were helpful.

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Surely the Lord who created me knows just how I feel about moving, yet He allowed the circumstances. It was during this time again I heard the unspoken question “Do you still love ME”?

Like Peter of old, my response was “Where else can I go but to you Lord, You have the words of eternal life”? (John 6:68)

He allowed me to be forced to move, to move me closer to Him, and to even love Him more. God’s move for me was perfect! It was me who needed to be moved (perfect-ed)!

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Your love for the Lord will also be tested through a variety of circumstances, some of which will almost take your breath away. Yes the Lord knows just what those situations will be and HE knows you.(Psalms 139)

So what’s the point of it all? God’s love for you is unconditional, time tested, blood given, sacrifice driven, and life giving through the death and life of Jesus. As you, as we endeavor to love Him unconditionally, we become more like Him, producing a purified love for Him and genuine love for others. (Matthew 22:36-40)

Whatever He allows in your life can move you closer to Him, and cause you to love Him more as well. His grace is sufficient as His strength is made perfect in your weakness. (II Corinthians 12:9)

Yes, come what may, LOVE HIM! For He loves us with an everlasting love, despite your failures, doubts, fears, anger and tears. HIS LOVE for you will see you through every challenge that comes your way. Know that HE will never leave you nor forsake you. (Jeremiah 31:3,Deuteronomy 31:6-8, Hebrews 13:5) Love HIM!

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