Conduct Yourselves in a Manner Worthy of the Gospel of Christ

The beauty of the gospel of Jesus Christ is that I need not do anything for Jesus in order to earn, be worthy of, merit the eternal salvation He offers me.  He alone has done the work of my salvation and it is finished.  It is a free gift given to all people regardless of what we have done (and the truth is that we are all born sinful).  Not one person merits the salvation that Christ Jesus offers to us.  Not one.

As a saved believer, having accepted the sacrifice that Jesus made for me on the cross, I desire to please my Lord with all of my life.  I work to know Him better.  I follow His ways as best I know how because He loves me, and He blesses my efforts to change.  He has given me His Holy Spirit to live inside of me to enable me to see truth spiritually so that I can repent of my sins, and choose forgiveness, and die to my own selfish desires, and walk with peace and joy and kindness.  And even all of that is His power and work in my heart and mind for His glory.

Yet, I have a daily battle against what my flesh wants to do.  Most days, the things that God has called me to do fill up my time.  I must remember to take rest and keep a Sabbath day holy to Him.  I have a responsibility to say no to many good tasks so that I can say yes to those things that Christ has prepared in advance for me to accomplish in His Name. (Ephesians 2:10)  I only have this one life to give.

There is a holy balance of staying focused on what God has called me to accomplish and remaining aware of the people He brings into my path every day.  Living a quiet, peaceful life that is accessible to others and offers great generosity and hospitality takes intentionality.  God wants us as believers to live as a family – one body – aware of the needs of our brothers and sisters, always willing to sacrifice and give what is needed.  We are to be iron sharpening iron being sent out into the world to reap a great harvest of souls.

And we are to live this life in the midst of a culture that is increasingly hostile toward God.

Sometimes I think that we forget who we are and whose we are.  You see beloved, the light will always overcome the darkness.  But we must shine.  We must reflect the goodness of God to everyone around us.  Choosing to live out the gospel of peace being always ready to speak truth as God gives us the opportunities. (Philippians 1:27-2:7)  Searching for where the harvest is ripe. (Luke 10:2)

Making disciples happens right where you are.  We are to be in the world but not of the world.  Our minds and souls are to be of God having been spiritually reborn and renewed.  We are His ambassadors (light and salt) to the world, most of whom are living in utter darkness.

God has placed people in your life that need the truth (the Word of God) that you have to offer them.  Ask God for opportunities to love them well and to speak for Him.  God’s Word is powerful.  It does not need you to defend it.  It only needs you to believe it, to obey it (live it), and to share it.

We have not been given cheap grace.  You were bought at a price. (1 Corin. 6:19-20; 7:22-23) You are a bondservant of the Lord Jesus Christ.  You have died and your life is hidden in Christ Jesus.  It is He who lives in you.  Does your life show proof of salvation?  Are you bearing fruit for God’s kingdom?  Are you living for Jesus or are you living for you and all that you want out of life?  Do you think you can have both?

The only way to have both is to have your desires completely line up with God’s desires for your life.

God has chosen you, equipped you, and changed you in order to use you to help build His kingdom.  Are you willing?  Be encouraged.  You have enough.  God is with you and for you.  Press on.

1 Timothy 6:6-8 But godliness with contentment is great gain, for we brought nothing into the world, and we cannot take anything out of the world.  But if we have food and clothing, with these we will be content. (ESV)

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My Relationship with God and My Right to Myself

I have started reading Oswald Chamber’s daily devotional My Utmost for His Highest with my husband.  As we discussed it last night, my husband, who has been reading this devotional for more than 15 years, told me that two themes have stuck with him:  1) that we should focus on our relationship with God rather than on our perceived calling and 2) that I must give up any “right” to myself – my dreams, my wants, my ways, me.

In order for God to really change me, I must be submitted to Jesus Christ as Lord and Master in all areas of my life.  I must willingly relinquish the reigns of control to Him.  If I don’t really know Him, know His character – goodness, faithfulness, justice, holiness, that is a difficult challenge.  Thus, I must work on building my knowledge of God and building my faith in Him through the trials and opportunities that He provides.  The Bible is filled with the knowledge of God.

Matthew 7:21-23   I Never Knew You

[21] “Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. [22] On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ [23] And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’ (ESV)

One of the easiest things I can do is to read His Word every day.  I’m not talking about a cute, feel-good quip of scripture you saw on Facebook.  I’m talking about prayer, opening up a Bible, intentionally seeking to know more about God as you take a passage of scripture and examine it carefully.  Then ask God how you are to apply what you just learned to your own life.  Observation, Interpretation, Application.  Bible study.

So beloved, whatever it is on your to do list for today, put it all on the back burner until you have sat at the feet of your Savior Jesus Christ to hear from Him.  It is only in this time alone with Jesus (the Word of God), that the Holy Spirit can prick your soul and reveal in your heart and mind those areas where you are living contrary to the Lord.

2 Corinthians 10:3-6

[3] For though we walk in the flesh, we are not waging war according to the flesh. [4] For the weapons of our warfare are not of the flesh but have divine power to destroy strongholds. [5] We destroy arguments and every lofty opinion raised against the knowledge of God, and take every thought captive to obey Christ, [6] being ready to punish every disobedience, when your obedience is complete. (ESV)

As I have been sitting at the feet of Jesus, God has been revealing to me that those things that I have labeled “ministry” are good, but so also are those tasks that I have labeled “chores”.  In my own pride, I have deemed chores not worthy of my precious time for ministry.  I have been humbled and changed. God is calling me to this place and time for His purposes not mine.  If I fail to ask Him what those purposes are, I will be laboring in vain.  All of our deeds will be tested in the fire at the Bema seat.  Those tasks that have been done with wrong motivations shall be burned up – no eternal value.  Ashes.  Blown away by the slightest breeze.  Only those things that God purposed for me to do that I accomplish for Him in His power will survive the flames.

Through His Word and His people, He is teaching me how to see, how to love, how to worship, how to live for Jesus Christ.  So today, after my quiet time, after my Bible study, I will be taking care of my home.  With each act of service, I will honor God and praise His name.  To God be the glory and honor and power forever and ever.

Walk in gratitude for the chores and ministry that He has given you.  It may seem small and unimportant in your mind, but when you are faithful with the small things God is glorified.  Be encouraged.  Press on.

I Sold That House – God is Doing a New Thing

I am currently in a season of waiting for a new season of life that will bring to me challenges I have never had to face.  My son is being sent off to complete some dangerous training.  My husband is being sent off to serve.  My girls are far from me.  My house will be empty.  I know only a bit of what I will be walking through.  I don’t know the day nor the hour that things will change, but I do know that change is coming.  It is inevitable in this life.  Just when we think things are comfortable, God says, “Look I am doing something new.”

But I have my anchor set.  I know that God is with me and my faith is deep enough to bear up under the trials of life.  So I can look to see what God has freed me up to do in this new season.  I sit at his feet expectantly awaiting my orders.

My dear sister in Christ, Renee, and I were talking yesterday about how the children in our lives would not be able to recognize who we were years ago.  God has done mighty works in both of us to mold us, renew us, shape us, break us, and cleanse us from our unrighteousness.  And He isn’t finished yet!  Renee declared, “I’m not that person any more – I sold that house!”

What a great statement!  I sold that house!

I mean, seriously, who sells a house and then returns to live in it again!  No, we all move on.  Move forward into a new place.  And God takes us by the hand and guides us on the way.

Isaiah 43:18-19 [18] “Remember not the former things, nor consider the things of old. [19] Behold, I am doing a new thing; now it springs forth, do you not perceive it? I will make a way in the wilderness and rivers in the desert. (ESV)

Praise God for all that He has done and will do in us.

We should all be in the process of working out our salvation.  You should be waiting to receive your orders for the new season of your life where God is calling you to serve in His kingdom.  He wants to use you and to change you.  He wants to glorify Himself through you.  We must simply be willing and obedient.  Yes Lord, be it unto Your servant as You have determined.

Luke 1:38 [38] And Mary said, “Behold, I am the servant of the Lord; let it be to me according to your word.” And the angel departed from her. (ESV)

When Mary said this, I am certain that she knew only a bit of what she would be walking through, yet she like me knew the One who was leading the way and she trusted fully in Him.

I pray that you are asking God what He wants from you today.  I pray that each of you are a servant of the Lord, willing to be used according to His will and not your own.  I pray that God will be glorified through the lives of His faithful servants.  Be encouraged.  Look God’s new thing springs forth.  He is making a way.  Press on!

No More Fear – What do you really believe?

I remember one day in particular (although I could list out several for you) that fear completely overwhelmed me.  It was a day in a long string of days of anxiety.  It was a rational fear – most reasonable people would have understood my circumstances.  However, as one who believes God’s word as truth, believes that God is sovereign and that He loves and cares for me, I allowed my focus on my circumstances to override what my mind knows about God.

It was a choice.  I chose (oh so subtly and more by default of being unintentional with my emotions and focus.) to look at the difficult circumstances I found myself in and panic.  Panic overtook me.  I failed the testing of my faith.  Failed it miserably.  In hindsight I was sinning in my lack of faith.  And at the time I would have been offended if someone were to have told me so.  Those choices I had been making in my thoughts and emotions were contrary to what God’s word instructs His children to walk in.  Sometimes our emotions simply come, but all the time we have control of them as those who possess God’s Holy Spirit.  Often they will lead us astray from the truth. (Be controlled by God’s Holy Spirit not your emotions. Romans 6; Ephesians 5:15-18; 1 Peter 5:6-11)  Acknowledge your emotions, take them to God and ask Him to reveal the truth to you, seek godly counsel who will tell you the truth, and then keep your emotions under control and submitted to God’s Holy Spirit and the truth of His Holy Word.

Philippians 4:4-9 [4] Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. [5] Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; [6] do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. [7] And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus. [8] Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. [9] What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you. (ESV)

Romans 12:1-2 A Living Sacrifice [1] I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. [2] Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect. (ESV)

It wasn’t that I hadn’t run to God in prayer, it was more that I didn’t truly believe God would have my back.  I would say that I believed, but my heart gave proof that my head knowledge hadn’t really been tested and accepted.

James 1:5-8 [5] If any of you lacks wisdom, let him ask God, who gives generously to all without reproach, and it will be given him. [6] But let him ask in faith, with no doubting, for the one who doubts is like a wave of the sea that is driven and tossed by the wind. [7] For that person must not suppose that he will receive anything from the Lord; [8] he is a double-minded man, unstable in all his ways. (ESV)

With that attitude, I should have expected not to receive strength or wisdom or peace from God.

Here is the question that settled my heart. (Know first that you must know what God’s Word says.)

Do you believe what God says in His Word as absolute truth?

If so, then what are you going to do with that in light of your current circumstances?

Do you believe all that He says about who you are in Christ Jesus?

Do you believe that He loves you and is working all things in your life for your eternal good and the good of others?

If you do (as well you should), then stand there.  Act on that belief.  Place all of your focus on those things – the promises of God stand firm.  Do not waver.  Do not be tossed about like a wave of the sea.

Colossians 1:21-23 [21] And you, who once were alienated and hostile in mind, doing evil deeds, [22] he has now reconciled in his body of flesh by his death, in order to present you holy and blameless and above reproach before him, [23] if indeed you continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel that you heard, which has been proclaimed in all creation under heaven, and of which I, Paul, became a minister. (ESV)

Colossians 3:1-4 Put On the New Self [1] If then you have been raised with Christ, seek the things that are above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. [2] Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth. [3] For you have died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. [4] When Christ who is your life appears, then you also will appear with him in glory. (ESV)

Beloved, God’s people need to act like they believe – truly know – the sovereign, almighty God they serve.  Be stable.  Be steadfast.  Do not shift from the hope of the gospel.  If you are a person who reacts to life in fear, I challenge you to seek out who God is.

1 John 4:4-6 [4] Little children, you are from God and have overcome them, for he who is in you is greater than he who is in the world. [5] They are from the world; therefore they speak from the world, and the world listens to them. [6] We are from God. Whoever knows God listens to us; whoever is not from God does not listen to us. By this we know the Spirit of truth and the spirit of error. (ESV)

So many Christians are being medicated for anxiety and depression.  I strongly believe that for many Christians, a good dose of God’s truth is all that is needed to set your emotional state on some solid, trustworthy, unshakable ground.  And any good Christian counselor should start with what do you truly believe about God.  Please know that I myself have in the past and many family members have and are struggling with these things.  I have deep compassion for those suffering with such darkness and fear.  And I also know God and His Word is life for us.  It is freedom from that bondage.  I know this because I’ve walked there myself.  He expects that we will take care of the bodies we have been given.  That includes our mental health as well as our physical health.

Let the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, (including those doctors and counselors) will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.  Start with a firm foundation of faith in God’s word.  Walk in it and see.  Test it out in your life and believe God.  Be intentional with your thought life – all of it.  Be intentional in what you listen to, watch, and believe.  See for yourself if God’s promises are true.  Claim them.  Hold tightly to them.  Trust Him in the midst of your trials.  Take every thought captive to the obedience of Christ.  Ask God what He wants you to do.  Then do it.  He loves you so.  Christ Jesus is our light and our great hope.  Be encouraged.  Press on.

The Way that Leads to Life

I saw this commercial the other day where the speaker was saying, “Wouldn’t it be great if…”.  Picture men helping elderly women, human beings displaying great care and concern and kindness to others.  A Pollyanna picture for certain.  It made me “feel” good for a moment.  I’m certain that was the desired effect.  But it didn’t have a lasting change in my life and it certainly wasn’t truth.

The truth is pretty harsh and ugly.  Most of us are pretty darn selfish when it comes right down to it.  And that is just the tip of the evil iceberg called the human will.  It will one day be set straight and what was presented as a Pollyanna commercial (I have no idea what the commercial was for by the way.) will in fact be the reality for some.

Over and over I am astounded by the lack of importance God and His Holy Word hold in the lives of most people.  I want to believe that it is that they just don’t know the truth of who God is and who they are.  If they could just grasp that, things might be different.  But I’m not sure that is true either.

Don’t get me wrong, there are many wonderful, kind people in this world.  I’d say most are.  But when life gets hard, we get pressed, things get difficult, true colors start to appear. That is when the difference of being a Christ follower is really put on display. It is what separates the boys from the men so to speak.

The parable of the sower tends to paint the picture well for us.

Matthew 13:3-9 [3] And he told them many things in parables, saying: “A sower went out to sow. [4] And as he sowed, some seeds fell along the path, and the birds came and devoured them. [5] Other seeds fell on rocky ground, where they did not have much soil, and immediately they sprang up, since they had no depth of soil, [6] but when the sun rose they were scorched. And since they had no root, they withered away. [7] Other seeds fell among thorns, and the thorns grew up and choked them. [8] Other seeds fell on good soil and produced grain, some a hundredfold, some sixty, some thirty. [9] He who has ears, let him hear.” (ESV)

4 types of soil:  along the path, rocky ground, among the thorns, and the good soil.  It is only when the seed (God’s Word) falls on the good soil that it will be productive.

Matthew 19:23-26 [23] And Jesus said to his disciples, “Truly, I say to you, only with difficulty will a rich person enter the kingdom of heaven. [24] Again I tell you, it is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle than for a rich person to enter the kingdom of God.” [25] When the disciples heard this, they were greatly astonished, saying, “Who then can be saved?” [26] But Jesus looked at them and said, “With man this is impossible, but with God all things are possible.” (ESV)

Matthew 7:12-14 The Golden Rule [12] “So whatever you wish that others would do to you, do also to them, for this is the Law and the Prophets. [13] “Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many. [14] For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few. (ESV)

The gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life and those who find it are few…..

Over time, the truth and depth of our faith in God is revealed.  We must want to seek God.  We must want to obey Him out of love for what He has done for us.  We are His bondservants by choice.  It is our daily choices that reveal where our hearts are focused; self or master.  I want my heart to be humble, teachable, willing to be used by God for whatever He decides is best to bring Him the greatest glory.  He created me.  He has a purpose for my life.  I would hate to enter heaven only to discover that I missed it.  Today is a new day.  Set your eyes on your Master, sit at His feet and get your marching orders, then get going.  There is much to do before Jesus returns.  Open your Bible every day to seek God.  Allow God’s Holy Spirit to renew your mind and mold you to be more and more like your Savior Jesus Christ.  Be encouraged.  The gate may be narrow and the way hard but God is with us sustaining and equipping us for every step of that journey.  Press on!

The Judgments – Did you know there will be two? The Bema Seat of Christ and the Great White Throne Judgment

The one judgment that most often comes to the minds of Christians is the Great White Throne Judgment.  And many understand all scripture regarding judgment to be this one event.  However, when you study the scriptures, you discover that there are two different judgments.  The first to occur is the Bema Seat – judgment seat of God/Christ (Rom 14:10, 2 Corin 5:10)

Romans 2:6-11 [6] He will render to each one according to his works: [7] to those who by patience in well-doing seek for glory and honor and immortality, he will give eternal life; [8] but for those who are self-seeking and do not obey the truth, but obey unrighteousness, there will be wrath and fury. [9] There will be tribulation and distress for every human being who does evil, the Jew first and also the Greek, [10] but glory and honor and peace for everyone who does good, the Jew first and also the Greek. [11] For God shows no partiality. (ESV)

But He does distinguish and judge our heart attitudes, motives, choices, and works.

The Bema seat judgment is reserved only for those who, through faith in God’s promised messiah, Jesus Christ, receive eternal life.  Their sins were judged on the cross by their Savior Jesus Christ.  The price was paid in full.  They will not be re-judged.  Their works, however, will be judged by fire to reveal their worth, and God will reward each of us according to what we have done in this life.  We will in turn, give any rewards we receive back to the one who paid the price for our sins – Jesus Christ.

2 Corinthians 5:4-10 [4] For while we are still in this tent, we groan, being burdened—not that we would be unclothed, but that we would be further clothed, so that what is mortal may be swallowed up by life. [5] He who has prepared us for this very thing is God, who has given us the Spirit as a guarantee. [6] So we are always of good courage. We know that while we are at home in the body we are away from the Lord, [7] for we walk by faith, not by sight. [8] Yes, we are of good courage, and we would rather be away from the body and at home with the Lord. [9] So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him. [10] For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may receive what is due for what he has done in the body, whether good or evil. (ESV)

1 Corinthians 3:10-15 [10] According to the grace of God given to me, like a skilled master builder I laid a foundation, and someone else is building upon it. Let each one take care how he builds upon it. [11] For no one can lay a foundation other than that which is laid, which is Jesus Christ. [12] Now if anyone builds on the foundation with gold, silver, precious stones, wood, hay, straw—[13] each one’s work will become manifest, for the Day will disclose it, because it will be revealed by fire, and the fire will test what sort of work each one has done. [14] If the work that anyone has built on the foundation survives, he will receive a reward. [15] If anyone’s work is burned up, he will suffer loss, though he himself will be saved, but only as through fire. (ESV)

2 Timothy 4:8 Henceforth there is laid up for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, will award to me on that day, and not only to me but also to all who have loved his appearing. (ESV)

Speaking here to believers sealed by God’s Holy Spirit regarding other believers in the faith, Paul states:

1 Corinthians 4:1-5 The Ministry of Apostles  [1] This is how one should regard us, as servants of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. [2] Moreover, it is required of stewards that they be found faithful. [3] But with me it is a very small thing that I should be judged by you or by any human court. In fact, I do not even judge myself. [4] For I am not aware of anything against myself, but I am not thereby acquitted. It is the Lord who judges me. [5] Therefore do not pronounce judgment before the time, before the Lord comes, who will bring to light the things now hidden in darkness and will disclose the purposes of the heart. Then each one will receive his commendation from God. (ESV)

Romans 14:10-12 [10] Why do you pass judgment on your brother? Or you, why do you despise your brother? For we will all stand before the judgment seat of God; [11] for it is written, ‘As I live, says the Lord, every knee shall bow to me, and every tongue shall confess to God.” [12] So then each of us will give an account of himself to God. (ESV)

Paul is instructing believers to let God discern the motives of the hearts of other believers.  That is not for us to do.  We cannot accurately assess such a thing – God will do so justly in His time.

The Great White Throne Judgement will come at the end of the 1,000 year millennial reign of Jesus Christ on Earth – ruling and reigning on Earth from David’s Throne in Jerusalem.  This will be when all those who died without saving faith in God’s promised Messiah will stand before Him whom they rejected, Jesus Christ, to be judged.  Their names are not found in the Lambs Book of Life so the other books of their works will be opened to see what eternal punishment is just.  [Note: The redeemed, all of God’s saints, will not participate in this judgment.  Those who had died will have been previously resurrected (in the 1st Resurrection) and granted their translated/resurrection bodies.]

Revelation 20:11-15 Judgment Before the Great White Throne [11] Then I saw a great white throne and him who was seated on it. From his presence earth and sky fled away, and no place was found for them. [12] And I saw the dead, great and small, standing before the throne, and books were opened. Then another book was opened, which is the book of life. And the dead were judged by what was written in the books, according to what they had done. [13] And the sea gave up the dead who were in it, Death and Hades gave up the dead who were in them, and they were judged, each one of them, according to what they had done. [14] Then Death and Hades were thrown into the lake of fire. This is the second death, the lake of fire. [15] And if anyone’s name was not found written in the book of life, he was thrown into the lake of fire. (ESV)

So remember beloved, we are building on the foundation of Christ Jesus.  You will receive what is due for what is done while in your body.  Make no mistake about it.  Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ and be saved.  Build on His foundation and store up your treasure in heaven.  Seek to please God and obey His commands.  I pray you have a great reward on that day to place at the feet of your Savior.  Be encouraged.  Press on!

From Love to Self-Control: God at Work in Me, Even Me

If there is one thing that my years of Biblical studies have taught me, it is this:

God ALONE is true, holy, just, and trustworthy.

This is faith.

Faith in His son Jesus Christ as my Savior and Lord.  Faith in His word as absolute truth.  Faith in His Holy Spirit – Christ in me.

He alone is worthy of my praise.  He alone is my source of strength and hope.

I have learned that I cannot trust self.  My thoughts and desires will only lead me to pain and suffering for me and those around me.

Full submission to my creator God, who loves me and has a purpose for me, leads me into the abundant, full life that makes living life in this dark and fallen place worthwhile.

Love and Purpose.

Knowing who you are and whose you are makes all the difference.  I pray that you will study what God’s word says about you, His beloved, and that you will walk in full belief and confidence that you are deeply and eternally loved by the God of all creation.

Ephesians 2:4-10 [4] But God, being rich in mercy, because of the great love with which he loved us, [5] even when we were dead in our trespasses, made us alive together with Christ—by grace you have been saved—[6] and raised us up with him and seated us with him in the heavenly places in Christ Jesus, [7] so that in the coming ages he might show the immeasurable riches of his grace in kindness toward us in Christ Jesus. [8] For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, [9] not a result of works, so that no one may boast. [10] For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them. (ESV)

You are not under condemnation (Rom. 8:1).  You are God’s beloved child (John 1:12).  Take time to soak and rest in that.  Let God minister to your heart and fill it with love overflowing so that you have something to offer – a light to shine in the darkness as you reflect His holiness.  Listen to this One who loves you.  Obey what He has planned for you to do.  It will be difficult, but He is with you.

Matthew 5:13-16 [13] “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. [14] “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. [15] Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. [16] In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven. (ESV)

The fruit of God’s Holy Spirit made evident in the life of a follower of Jesus, a child of God, is encouragement to my faith.  God made manifest in the life of me, even me.  Be encouraged today in the Lord.  He has great things for you to do.  Submit to Him.  Press on.