Believing the Truth: Replacing Lies with God’s Word

Romans 12:2 [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)

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)

We are in a very real spiritual battle against evil.  Satan desires to make the lives of followers of Jesus Christ ineffective by holding them hostage to lies, accusing them, and discouraging what God is trying to accomplish in them and through them.

Knowing God’s word is the only way that we can know truth.  Contrary to our cultural view of” truth is what you perceive it to be” or “what you experience it to be”, absolute truth is only found in God and His Word.  Our human nature wants to immediately push back against this – against God and His word – even before we know what it says!  God’s word is our only offensive weapon against Satan. Ephesians 6:10-20

Many Christians struggle in their daily lives because of untruths that they are acting upon.  Pride is a barrier to humble acknowledgement that we can’t know everything and that our limited perception and our feelings can often lead us into error and wrong thinking.  Keeping a teachable attitude that says “I may be wrong about this” is a mark of maturity and humility.  Yet we do need to stand firm in our faith.  We stand on what we understand and know to be God’s truth, and we remain teachable, seeking God’s wisdom to show us where we may be wrong.  He is our greatest teacher, and we must remain teachable throughout our lives.

James tells us that God does not tempt anyone, but that each person is tempted when they are dragged away by their own evil desires and enticed. (1:13-15)  It is a slippery slope of thinking about something that leads to repeated thinking on that thing, which leads eventually to acting on our thoughts.  Our thought life is extremely important to our walk with Jesus.

Paul tells us that we need to take all of our thoughts captive and make them obey Jesus Christ.

That means to not entertain those things that stand contrary to God’s word.  Not going over and over ideas that we know are not true.

That means to correct your own thoughts and take things back to God’s word.  What does God say about that?

Most fear and worry stem from erroneous thinking about who God is, about who we are in Christ, and from allowing certain aspects of our lives to not be fully surrendered to the Lordship of Jesus.  These are the areas that give our enemy a foothold in our lives.  These footholds will lead to strongholds and satanic oppression in a Christian’s life if they are not corrected, confessed, repented of, surrendered, and healed by God.

Now if we struggle to know fully what God’s word says, how are our children to fight this spiritual battle if we are not equipping them with the truth of God’s word?  We are commanded to diligently teach our children the ways God.  (Deut 6:4-9, 11:19) Filling the lives of our children (and our own) with the Word of God is an absolute necessity. When we fail to do so we are allowing our enemy to enter in and bring chaos and destruction into our lives.  At first it is as simple as a twisted truth, but the toe hold becomes a foot hold and then before we know it, Satan has a stronghold.

In our own lives, we need to prayerfully request that God will reveal the lies that we have been believing.  Start examining the areas of life where we are continually struggling.  We must be in God’s word every day, seeking His truth.  We must be fully surrendered to the work of God’s Holy Spirit as He has equipped us with all that we need to live prosperous and victorious abundant lives as His servants here in this dark and fallen world.  We are to be salt and light to those who are lost. Remember that you have been given a Spirit of power not of fear.

For more teaching about who Satan is and what His schemes and tactics are in our lives, I’d encourage you to seek out podcasts and books by Charles Stanley on spiritual warfare.

Many have stated in the past that there are two danger areas to avoid:  1) blaming everything bad on the devil and finding him around every corner when many times suffering comes from our own sinful fleshly desires that we refuse to submit to the Lordship of Jesus and 2) going through life as though your greatest enemy doesn’t even exist.  Resting comfortably where you are and not being on guard with all of your Armor on leaves you and your family at great risk.

Lord, help us to believe the full counsel of Your word.  Help us to be people of the Word, people of prayer who live victorious, prosperous lives for Your glory.  Satan exists and is a very real enemy to Your children.  You tell us that He who is in us (Your Holy Spirit) is greater than he who is in the world (Satan and his fallen angels).  So we have full confidence and victory over all of his schemes.  Yet we must be aware, watchful, and ready to avoid those traps.  I rejoice with You God that You have revealed to us the victory that Jesus Christ accomplished and will have over sin and death.  I thank you that Satan’s power is limited and under full control of Your hand and that You are able to turn what he intends for evil for our good.  All glory and honor to you God.  In the powerful name of Jesus Christ I pray.  Amen.

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Justification of Sin: But I’m Right!

Have you ever felt justified in your own sinful actions?  I have.  I have told myself it is the other person’s fault that I had to act like that.  I distinctly remember as a little girl jubilantly declaring that “the devil made me do it” as if I had been given a “get out of jail free” card.  Because really I’m a good person.  If you really know me you know my heart, and you would know that the other person deserved every ounce of my wrath.  If you are willing to listen, I’ll tell you every detail so you can see that I am right!

Ugh.  Thank you Jesus that You have not left me to myself.  Thank You Lord for revealing truth to me, making me humble enough to accept it, and for giving me a heart that wants to change to be more like you.

Our hearts are sinful from birth, and it is a work of God to change them into being His loving, faithful servants.  It is a life-long process of sanctification that I often want to hurry up and finish.  It isn’t a comfortable process.

I have a dear friend who says frequently, “I’ve learned I can’t trust me.”  What she means is that over time, she has discovered that her own willful choices have not brought about good things in her life.  Her best reasoning and decision making couldn’t see what was in her future.

My husband also says that we must, “give up our (false) right to ourselves”.  We must die to self. We must take up our cross. We must submit our whole lives to God’s will.  Don’t be selfish in anything.  Try that for five minutes, I dare you.  You see God isn’t done sanctifying me yet, and He isn’t done sanctifying all the other people in my life.  This is why He wants us to follow His example of giving grace and forgiveness to others just has He so willingly offers them to us.

You have probably seen the saying “Don’t judge others because they sin differently than you do” posted on social media.  I understand the heart of that sentiment, but I don’t agree with the theology.  Although as Christians, we do all have the same standing before God as the redeemed of Christ Jesus, there is a difference between judgement and discernment.  We must discriminate between God’s job and our job.  God’s job is to convict of sin and to change hearts.  Our job is to make disciples (by teaching believers to obey God’s commands), to discern the fruit of a believer’s life, and to share the gospel with unbelievers.  And within the body of Christ we are called to be discerning of each other’s fruit.  We have an obligation to one another to address sin within the body because as we are told over and over a little yeast works its way through the whole lump of dough. (Galatians 5)

We each need a small group of Christians who know the ugly details of our lives, who know what we believe and how we think, and who can help us walk rightly before God.  Accountability partners.  People who have your full permission to call you out on wrong thinking and bad behavior.  People whom you trust and who trust you.  People who love you enough to speak the truth to you, even when it may be hard to hear.  People who walk closely with God and who possess a good knowledge of God’s word.

Proverbs 27:5-6

[5] Better is open rebuke

                                than hidden love.

                [6] Faithful are the wounds of a friend;

                                profuse are the kisses of an enemy. (ESV)

So I constantly remind myself to do my best to keep my head down, to stay humble, to know that I don’t know all there is to know, to understand that I must forgive and do my best to understand other people’s hearts, that I have an obligation to offer grace and mercy, that God isn’t finished with them either, that this life isn’t about me and my wants and my dreams but rather about God Almighty and His Kingdom.

Back again to knowing God’s Word and understanding who I am and whose I am.  Our identity in Jesus Christ reveals to us truths that we are to walk in and those truths change how we think and thus how we behave.

Ephesians 3:14-21 Prayer for Spiritual Strength

[14] For this reason I bow my knees before the Father, [15] from whom every family in heaven and on earth is named, [16] that according to the riches of his glory he may grant you to be strengthened with power through his Spirit in your inner being, [17] so that Christ may dwell in your hearts through faith—that you, being rooted and grounded in love, [18] may have strength to comprehend with all the saints what is the breadth and length and height and depth, [19] and to know the love of Christ that surpasses knowledge, that you may be filled with all the fullness of God.

[20] Now to him who is able to do far more abundantly than all that we ask or think, according to the power at work within us, [21] to him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, forever and ever. Amen. (ESV)

Beloved, we have no right to a perfectly happy life.  And if you have bought into that lie I’d encourage you to take that to God, to open up His word and to see the words of Jesus who has warned us that in this life we will have trouble; we will be hated by the world because the world first hated Him.  And then tell Him again how unfair your life is.  I’ve heard others put it this way, “the only thing we have a right to in this life is eternity in hell”.  Everything else we receive is God’s great grace. (John 15:18, 16:33; Matthew 10)

 

 

We can only follow Jesus if we have received His Holy Spirit.  It is in the power that the Holy Spirit gives us that we are able to give up our right to ourselves.  And can I tell you that your relationships will all improve as you learn how to love others well without a self-centered heart?  It is freedom; freedom in knowing that you are forgiven, and you are deeply, eternally loved by God, that allows you to take up that cross each day and walk in victory willingly serving God according to His will and not your own.  Having placed your faith and trust in Jesus, you have eternal life with God starting on that blessed day.  Nothing will change that.  Nothing.

Believe what God says about who you are.  Love others well.  Give all the glory to our God and King.  Be encouraged.  Press on.

Romans 8:31-39  God’s Everlasting Love

[31] What then shall we say to these things? If God is for us, who can be against us? [32] He who did not spare his own Son but gave him up for us all, how will he not also with him graciously give us all things? [33] Who shall bring any charge against God’s elect? It is God who justifies. [34] Who is to condemn? Christ Jesus is the one who died—more than that, who was raised—who is at the right hand of God, who indeed is interceding for us. [35] Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation, or distress, or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or danger, or sword? [36] As it is written,

                “For your sake we are being killed all the day long;

                                we are regarded as sheep to be slaughtered.”

[37] No, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him who loved us. [38] For I am sure that neither death nor life, nor angels nor rulers, nor things present nor things to come, nor powers, [39] nor height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God in Christ Jesus our Lord. (ESV)

 

What is God’s Will for Me?

Beloved, finding our way in this dark world can be overwhelming and challenging at the least.  Knowing who we are and whose we are is so very important for all of us.  Search God’s Word to see what He says about those who are His. Do you believe Him?  He wants you.  All of you, all the time.  Your first obligation is to cultivate a deep relationship with God (our Lord and Master) – every day.  After that, He gives you His marching orders in His Word.

Sometimes, even always, God’s Word is enough.  Do you treasure it?  Are you abiding in it?  Are you hiding it within you?  Are you obeying it?  Do you know how to accurately study God’s word on your own?  Or are you ignoring it, expecting God to answer you elsewhere?

Here are just a few passages that quickly came to my mind this morning regarding what God desires from us, His children.

Micah 6:6-8   What Does the LORD Require?

[6] “With what shall I come before the LORD,

                                and bow myself before God on high?

                Shall I come before him with burnt offerings,

                                with calves a year old?

                [7] Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams,

                                with ten thousands of rivers of oil?

                Shall I give my firstborn for my transgression,

                                the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?”

                [8] He has told you, O man, what is good;

                                and what does the LORD require of you

                but to do justice, and to love kindness,

                                and to walk humbly with your God? (ESV)

Matthew 22:34-40  The Great Commandment

[34] But when the Pharisees heard that he had silenced the Sadducees, they gathered together. [35] And one of them, a lawyer, asked him a question to test him. [36] “Teacher, which is the great commandment in the Law?” [37] And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. [38] This is the great and first commandment. [39] And a second is like it: You shall love your neighbor as yourself. [40] On these two commandments depend all the Law and the Prophets.” (ESV)

Matthew 28:16-20  The Great Commission

[16] Now the eleven disciples went to Galilee, to the mountain to which Jesus had directed them. [17] And when they saw him they worshiped him, but some doubted. [18] And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me. [19] Go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, [20] teaching them to observe all that I have commanded you. And behold, I am with you always, to the end of the age.” (ESV)

John 14:12-17

[12] “Truly, truly, I say to you, whoever believes in me will also do the works that I do; and greater works than these will he do, because I am going to the Father. [13] Whatever you ask in my name, this I will do, that the Father may be glorified in the Son. [14] If you ask me anything in my name, I will do it.

Jesus Promises the Holy Spirit

[15] “If you love me, you will keep my commandments. [16] And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Helper, to be with you forever, [17] even the Spirit of truth, whom the world cannot receive, because it neither sees him nor knows him. You know him, for he dwells with you and will be in you. (ESV)

Galatians 5:16-26  Keep in Step with the Spirit

[16] But I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh. [17] For the desires of the flesh are against the Spirit, and the desires of the Spirit are against the flesh, for these are opposed to each other, to keep you from doing the things you want to do. [18] But if you are led by the Spirit, you are not under the law. [19] Now the works of the flesh are evident: sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, [20] idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, [21] envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. I warn you, as I warned you before, that those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God. [22] But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, [23] gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. [24] And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires.

[25] If we live by the Spirit, let us also keep in step with the Spirit. [26] Let us not become conceited, provoking one another, envying one another. (ESV)

2 Timothy 2:14-19  A Worker Approved by God

[14] Remind them of these things, and charge them before God not to quarrel about words, which does no good, but only ruins the hearers. [15] Do your best to present yourself to God as one approved, a worker who has no need to be ashamed, rightly handling the word of truth. [16] But avoid irreverent babble, for it will lead people into more and more ungodliness, [17] and their talk will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, [18] who have swerved from the truth, saying that the resurrection has already happened. They are upsetting the faith of some. [19] But God’s firm foundation stands, bearing this seal: “The Lord knows those who are his,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.” (ESV)

James 1:26-27

[26] If anyone thinks he is religious and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his heart, this person’s religion is worthless. [27] Religion that is pure and undefiled before God the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world. (ESV)

Get busy.  We have much work to do.  2 Timothy 2:15 Study to show yourself approved before God in rightly dividing His Word.  Our Master will be returning soon.  What will you have done with this treasure He has given you?  Be encouraged.  Press on!

What’s Your Problem? Y’all are barking up the wrong tree!

I get that my perspective is limited and that my perceptions are often deceiving because of that limitation.  Which is why I believe there is wisdom in seeking wisdom from above, through prayer and scripture, as well as seeking several sources of outside-the-problem, godly counsel when we are in difficult seasons of life.

When we become one of those outside-the-problem sources of godly counsel, it becomes necessary to listen well to what people are saying and what they are not saying.  Often the source of the issue is an error in their understanding of biblical doctrine. In other words, a belief in a lie, an untruth, that the world views as true but according to God it is a falsehood.  What we do (how we behave) mostly stems from what we believe.  If what we believe is false, then our actions will lead to destruction.  Destruction of relationships, of employment, of opportunities, of ministry, etc.

This is why God wants us to renew our minds with the truth of His scriptures – His word.

Discord, unrest, and conflict are common to everyone in this life.  How we resolve those conflicts separates the men from the boys, so to speak.  Listening well to others to understand their hearts and to understand what they really believe is important.  Once we have a good grasp of that, then we can compare those things to the word of God and see if there are any inconsistencies.  It is in resolving those inconsistencies where healing and restoration are found.

More often than not, rather than being willing to listen well, people really want to be heard.

Making sure that those you counsel feel heard is a primary first step.  Confirming our understanding of what they have shared about their heart and their beliefs is important.  Then when we are ready to offer a suggestion that a person’s belief may not be founded on truth, we need to select a time when that person is really ready to listen.  Do they really want a solution to their problem or do they just want someone to listen to their complaints about their problem?  There is a difference.

Someone is ready to receive counsel when they are willing to make often difficult changes.  Until then, your counsel is geared toward challenging their truth.  Why do they feel or believe what they do?  Are they able to view the situation for someone else’s vantage point?  Do they really know what Jesus would do in this situation?  Are they willing to face their fears?  Are they willing to humble themselves?  Are they willing to re-examine their core beliefs?

I have found that what is often presented as the problem at hand is really just a consequence of a bigger problem.  The bigger problem has now been made evident in consequences which have made life difficult for others. Most counsel would quickly grasp the low hanging fruit (consequences) and start barking up the wrong tree.  We don’t want to just band-aid over the consequences.  God wants to dig up the root of that bigger problem.

Understanding and fully embracing the truth about our identity as redeemed followers of Jesus Christ is an important first step in applying God’s truth to our lives.  Do I believe what God says about who I am?  Second to this is an ever increasing knowledge of God and His Word.  Identity in Christ paired with deep Biblical literacy.  Do I have an accurate Biblical world view?  Can I find my core values validated in scripture?

This is a lifelong pursuit.  A day by day journey.  A faith walk.

So no matter where you are, be faithful to God today.  Open up His word and meet Him there; allow Him to teach you and to renew your thoughts.  Take each thought captive to the obedience of Christ in order to destroy speculations and every lofty thing that is raised up against the knowledge of God.  Walk with God in humility of spirit.  Submit your ways to Him.  Share what you know with others – offer godly counsel based on God’s word when asked for it.  And always be ready to test what others say against God’s word – and test the spirit by which it is offered.

If you are in a difficult season yourself, take a step back and examine the bigger problem, not just the obvious consequences.  Try to locate the error – the inconsistencies between what you believe (or what is being offered to you as truth) and what God’s word says.  If you don’t know God’s word well yet, seek out godly counsel from someone(s) who does.

God’s ways are best for us.  Renewing our minds to those ways leads to an abundant, peaceful, and joy filled life.  God is glorified by the changes that His word and His Holy Spirit bring about in our lives.  The changes will be evident to those around us.  I pray you are ever learning and ever changing for God’s glory as He molds each of us to be more and more like Jesus Christ.  Be encouraged.  Press on!

Firm Faith Over Time: Patiently Waiting on God

I am currently facilitating a class studying the book of Genesis.  This week’s lesson was on chapter 16, the story of Abram, Sarai, and Hagar.  Sin upon sin upon sin.  No one was left out.  A story of waiting patiently (or not) on God’s promises.  A story of enduring suffering and pain within a family.  A story of abuse, conception, and new life.

Oh did I mention these were all faithful people?  People who believed God.

God did fulfill His promises to Abram, in His perfect timing.  But like Abram, we often have a hard time resting in God’s promises; waiting for them to be fulfilled in whatever time frame and manner God has prescribed.  Many times we obey the voices of men/women over the voice of God.  We all want to know what our future holds.  How will this all end?  How can we know for certain that we will see what God has promised?  What are we supposed to do in the waiting?  Have we missed the blessing?

Hagar, having been abused, declares that God sees her.  He sees you too beloved.  He sees you too.

God is not unaware of our suffering.  He desires to use it in our lives, and in the lives of those around us, to change our hearts and to bring Him glory.  He told Hagar to return to that home where she was mistreated.  She believed God, and she obeyed God, trusting Him to provide what she needed.  The people in her life will eventually discard her, but God never does.

So in the waiting, know for certain that God is with you.  Draw close to Him and He will draw close to you.

James 4:6-10  But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (ESV)

Humble yourself.  Confess your sins to Him and accept His forgiveness.  Offer the same forgiveness to others. (Ephe. 4:32; Colossians 3:13)  Resist the devil.  Stand firm in your faith. (1 Corinthians 16:13)   Read and meditate on God’s word. (Joshua 1:8; Psalm 1:2) Sing His praises.  Give thanks in all circumstances. (1 Thess. 5:18)  Renew your mind. (Romans 12:2) Take every thought captive. (2 Corinth. 10:5)  Put on the full armor of God.  Then after you have done all this, stand. (Ephesians 6:13)

Emmanuel, God is with you.

Do you know Him who you serve?

Do you trust Him in all things?

Then rest in His arms beloved.  He sees you.  He is faithful to fulfill all His promises. (Psalm 145:13)

Hebrews 10:19-23 The Full Assurance of Faith:  [19] Therefore, brothers, since we have confidence to enter the holy places by the blood of Jesus, [20] by the new and living way that he opened for us through the curtain, that is, through his flesh, [21] and since we have a great priest over the house of God, [22] let us draw near with a true heart in full assurance of faith, with our hearts sprinkled clean from an evil conscience and our bodies washed with pure water. [23] Let us hold fast the confession of our hope without wavering, for he who promised is faithful. (ESV)

He who began a good work in you is faithful to complete it. (Philippians 1:6)

I pray that we will not rush ahead of God, taking our circumstances into our own hands and multiplying our sins.  Wait on the Lord.  He sees you.  He is good all the time.  To God be the glory.  Be encouraged.  Press on.

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)

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.