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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Food for thought: Thursday

If we can't control what we think, we will not be able to control what we do.

If you cannot control, or prevent yourself from being sucked into traps, chances are you are not mentally ready for battle.  This is a clear indication you need more Jesus Christ on your mind. Probe your weak points, it's time to strengthen up and grow.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Discipleship Requirements II

In 1934, John and Betty Stam were new missionaries to China, with their 3-month-old daughter, Helen, working in the small eastern town of Tsingteh (today called Jingde) in Anhui Province. The town's magistrate came to the Stams and warned them that the Communists were coming for them. After John confirmed this, the Stams prepared to leave. However, the Communists caught up to the Stams. A Chinese shopkeeper stepped out of the crowd and talked to the Communists, trying to persuade them not to kill the Stams. The soldiers ordered the man back into the crowd, but he wouldn't step back. The soldiers then invaded his house where they found a Chinese copy of the Holy Bible and a hymnal. He was led alongside the Stams to be executed for being a Christian. On their tombstones read:

John Cornelius Stam, January 18, 1907, "That Christ may be glorified whether by life or by death." Philippians 1:20
Elisabeth Scott Stam, February 22, 1906, "For me to live is Christ and to die is gain." Philippians 1:21
December 8, 1934, Miaosheo, Anhui, "Be thou faithful unto death and I will give thee a crown of life." Revelation 2:10
The story of their martyrdom was much publicized and inspired many to become missionaries. Why am I telling you this? The cost of following Jesus is something that needs to be considered ahead of time.  The Stam's new what they were getting involved in as missionaries. The shopkeeper as well, knew the cost of standing up to the soldiers, especially once he refused to retreat.  Some believers make a commitment to discipleship only to fall away when the demands get difficult.  Then there are believers who understand the call of discipleship but are not obedient.  Not counting the cost will cause humiliation, defeat, and disgrace. Following Christ is no easy decision.  Lastly, let's evaulate our walk because the faithful follower experiences the peace of God even in the midst of adversity.  It is time for us to move to new levels of commitment and obedience to our Elder Brother Christ. 






Discipleship Requirements

Luke 14:25-35 tells us about the requirements of following Jesus.  26 “If you want to be my disciple, you must hate everyone else by comparison—your father and mother, wife and children, brothers and sisters—yes, even your own life."

These are the words of Jesus. The term hate in Greek is miseo, which is actually referring to love less, or to have an indifference to or relative disregard for them in comparison with your attitude toward God.  These are the requirements to be a disciple. You must put yourself and all of those things deemed valuable to you last and chasing after God first. There is another scripture, "Seek first the Kingdom of God."  Some call this a sacrifice, but I say we can only sacrifice what is OURS.  When we become a follower, we no longer own our life. Ultimately, we never did not in the first place, but anyway, our mission is to be about our Father's business.  So if our life is not our own and we belong to God what is it going to take to bear the cross?

We always want to see our favorite athlete take a team friendly contract and be loyal to the team,  city,  and fans. We ask them to put their loyalty on us and not their families. Similarly, our level of loyalty, or commitment to God should exceed that of our own family and self. Bearing the cross requires:

  1. Our Love  v.25
  2. Our Life  v.26
  3. Our Loyalty  v. 28-32
  4. Our Livelihood v. 28-32

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Exposure of Our Insecurities

Exposure of our insecurities typically sets us up for uncomfortable situations. Whether it's your skin color, intellect, talent, or looks,  either way your insecurities should not cause you to think less of yourself.  The devil would love for you to feel in adequate a out yourself. Why?  "TODAY"  sponsored by MSNBC,  wrote an article, "Does your heart sense your emotional state?" Dr. Rollin McCraty of the Institute of HeartMath visited “TODAY” to discuss the science behind the theory.

"Psychologists once maintained that emotions were purely mental expressions generated by the brain alone. We now know that this is not true — emotions have as much to do with the heart and body as they do with the brain. Of the bodily organs, the heart plays a particularly important role in our emotional experience. The experience of an emotion results from the brain, heart and body acting in concert."  

What does this mean? If the devil can poke and prod at our feelings,  our emotional state,  he will eventually get to our heart.  The more inadequate,  self conscience,  embarrassed we feel,  the devil is slowly creeping in.  Once he wounds our heart,  he can continue through that opened door and eventually get us to doubt God. You start to doubt God and now we have moved towards isolation. 

1 Corinthians 10:13 says, No temptation has seized you except what is common to man. And God is faithful; he will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it. The temptation here is to get you to turn your heart from God.

Choose to find JEHOVAH (YAHWEH) JIREH -THE LORD OUR PROVIDER in your situations so he can help you stand up.  

Monday, April 20, 2015

Beware of the Compromise


1)  We lost the Garden of Eden because of wanting something more than the condition and company of God.
2)  Judas sold Jesus out because he had a passion for money.
3)  Delilah betrayed Samson to the Philistines for a large sum of money.

Compromising starts small. Don't compromise your future for something temporary and incomparable to God's glory. The Christian walk is less about avoiding sin, but more about courageously doing God's will.

Being a Christian isn't just about following commandments: it's about letting Christ take possession of our lives.

Submission, the act of coming under God's will, will keep you from compromising yourself.  Draw nigh to God—So "cleave unto Him," De 30:20, namely, by prayerfully (James 4:2, 3) "resisting Satan," who would oppose our access to God.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

Rejoice! There is rest for the weary.

Come unto me, all of you who labor and are forced to bear burdens, and I shall give you rest.
Matthew 11:28

'all of you who labor and are forced to bear burdens." The word labor there comes from the greek word kopia├│ (kop-ee-ah'-o), which means to grow weary, toil, work with effort (of bodily and mental labor alike)Jesus is not talking about laboring in service to sin, but burdens such as the fatigue and disappointment . Look at the phrase 'and I shall give you rest''. In Greek the word rest is anapaus┼Ź (an-ap-ow'-o), which means give intermission from labor, refresh, a rest after the needed task is completed.

God wants to simply refresh our relationship with him. Knowing how gripping the way of the world is, God understands we are going to be overwhelmed and burdened by the turmoil. Why is the rest important? This is when Satan tries to press down on us. He tries to wear us out and yoke us with the consequences and consciousnesses of sin.  God wants to be the Aid for our grieving spirit. Within God's rest OUR spirit begins to get intuned with The Comforter's spirit. When we feel the cost of running the race, Jesus says, "Come to me." Jesus does not want us to get slaughtered by the enemy because we have lost focus due to being "weighted-down."  He knows of your hurt. He's been through it.  The chapter continues  29"Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and YOU WILL FIND REST FOR YOUR SOULS.…

We are encouraged to go to him, lay down our burdens at his feet, look to, hold by faith.that we are considered justified and blameless and enjoy that true spiritual consolation, which could never be attained to by works. 

Rejoice! There is rest for the weary. 

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Never Out of His Sight

God has you in the palm of His hand. He knows every need, every struggle & every desire. He has it all figured out. He's a supernatural God. He is sovereign.
Will you choose to let him be that in your life?

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Subject: Heart & Faith

@ToddAdkins: What the heart most wants,
the mind finds reasonable,
the will finds doable, and
the emotions find desirable

It is important to focus your heart on God,  not people or substances.  Especially substances because they are temporal. People will falter and let you down when it comes to walking with God.

Ever notice when you put your heart into something and sometimes the outcome does not workout but you are still impressed by your accomplishment? That is because you willed yourself to do more than expected. Your heart was 'after that thing'.  Mostly everyone can relate to love... when your heart leads you with the wrong or right person REGARDLESS of what the outside world says? For some its the biggest mistake of our lives and for others it's the best risk we've ever taken. The truth is the heart is not evil, but what you focus your heart on that makes it evil.

Matthew 5:8
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Where is your heart today? If we put our heart in Jesus Christ, where do we believe we will be led?  Will We not be conquers or overcomers? The bible says through Jesus we can do all things. I am a firm believer this is possible because we focus so much on him with our heart he rewards it doable. Jesus almighty! Otherwise if your heart is not in it,  chances are your faith is not there either. If it was, your heart would be there too. 'Heart' and 'spirit' can be used interchangeably. So consider this OUR faith is where OUR heart (spirit) is.

Monday, April 13, 2015

Submit to His Will

One day a constable found a body floating in the river that flowed through his little village. The discovery caused great sadness and puzzlement. When no one arrived to claim the body, the villagers dutifully donated materials to construct a coffin and conducted a funeral. It was the least they could do.  A week later, however, a villager found another body in the river, and then another, and another, and so on. After a month of this, the village was just plain worn out by all the coffin construction and funerals. So one day, the constable decided to hike upstream to see what was going on. After following the river two miles into the foothills, the constable found a small footbridge washed out. Footprints indicated that travelers had been trying to get across the river without the bridge and had been swept away by the current. The next day the villagers trooped up the trail to construct a new footbridge and solved the problem for a generation. 

Selah! Think about what would happen of we did not have the triune God in our life.  Too often we don't appreciate the difference. Whether it is Jesus,  God himself, or the Holy Spirit. We would be stuck with raising sheep farms for sacrifices to keep up with our sinful nature.  We would have no dynamic dunamis (doo'-nam-is) power to do powerful deeds.  God wants us to get by through relying on and in him. If we continue down our path, we will end up like the bodies in the river. It is Jesus' way or the high way.  There is no middle, or fine line. As a child and young adult we tend to do things the hard way. We fight our parents instructions, making it difficult to submit to their rules which may seem ridiculous to us. However, when we reach maturation, we realize there was a reason. Just like God! We need to reach for that period of maturation and stop fighting His Will. Imagine, Jesus as the villagers that cared enough to stop seeing people die and become The solution. Why? So we can have a eternal relationship with the Father.

Today, submit to God's Will in that area of your life you are struggling and trying to control yourself. Truth be told if your way worked, you would not be in the situation you are in now.

Friday, April 10, 2015

Frustration, Complication, and Misery

Frustration, complication, and misery are available in abundance, but so is God's grace.

You have the ability to perceive, create, and love among other things. Therefore your perception determines your outcome. Just as well the words you speak create your future. Regardless of what what happens in your daily life God has blessed us with the ability to determine the effect of how the outcome plays out in our life.

The Arabic Bible in Plain English translation says Yeshua said to him, “I AM THE LIVING GOD, The Way and The Truth and The Life; no man comes to my Father but by me alone.” (John 14:6) Christ's disciples, more than others, should keep their minds quiet, when everything else is unquiet. Here is the remedy against this trouble of mind, Believe. By believing in Christ as the Mediator between God and man, we gain comfort. The word 'way' can be translated 'road, journey, path'. The key here is to fixate yourself on Jesus. 'I am the way' can be phrased as I am the way which one passes, i. e. with whom all who seek approach to God must enter into closest fellowship.

In conclusion, focus on the road of Christ. This will be soften our heart, comfort us, and keep us focused. When we make Jesus our way in our life, it is inevitable for our situations to line up as well, because our mind changes ... our thoughts change ... our outlook is a different. Therefore your perception of your frustration, complications and miseries all change. 

Amen!



Thursday, April 9, 2015

Philippians 4:19

Philippian Generosity
19And my God will supply all your needs according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.

This verse is often taken out of context to say that the Lord will meet our every need. That is not exactly what Paul was saying. He was speaking to the Philippians who had given to him on more than one occasion (Php 4:16). Paul is saying, "You have shown your regard for me as a friend of God, by sending to me in my distress, and I have confidence that, in return for all this, God will supply all your needs, when you are in circumstances of necessity." 

What we need to take away from this verse is the Philippians made a deposit into a spiritual account if you will, and God would use their generosity to multiply their giving toward the meeting of their own needs.  Yes it is God's will to supply all our needs, but first you must believe. Giving expresses your level of faith and your heart's commitment. It takes faith to give away a portion of what we have and trust that we will have enough. A Pastor once said, " If there were no God and if His promises of multiplying our gifts back to us were not true, it would be stupid to give. If what we have isn't enough, then giving part of that away will leave us with even less. But there is a God who is true to His promises, and when we give, we express that faith. People who are not giving, because they don't have enough, are people who don't believe. They can say what they want, but that is the bottom line."
The Philippians had proved their faith through their gifts. Those who are not walking in faith through giving cannot claim this scripture.  Giving is not just about finances, as  the Philippians invested with fragrances as their bounty and it got them such a glorious return.

What do you have that can be given as a well received blessing to someone in need?


Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Enhancing Your Relationship with God

PSA 27:4 NIV
One thing I ask from the Lord, this only do I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze on the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple.

Today, seek an opportunity to glorify God and honor Him. You were made to love,  by love, for love. WOW!  One breath connect us with God. Rest assured any time you give to God today will be honored by God. Take time to honor Him and not always petitioning what you need. I get more joy from daughter when she randomly comes sits on my lap and say, "daddy I love you." As a child of God remember our relationship extends beyond what we want to get out of it,  but what matters more is how we strengthen our relationship. That will bring about more fruitful benefits.

So ask yourself, what can you do today to enhance your relationship with God? What can you do to honor and glorify Him - the one who sits on the throne?


Monday, April 6, 2015

Transform

Just before Acts begins, we see the disciples scattered, disillusioned, fearing for their lives, and suffering  from self-doubt and personal shame. This is the story of Acts. They are the eyewitnesses to all that has happened to Jesus before and after crucifixion. They faced imprisonment,  beatings,  rejection,  and martyrdom. Apart from their master, they were a pathetic group indeed (Lk 24:11; Jn 20:19).  Nonetheless, these men still carried out Jesus' Great Commission.  How? Well, the "power" to overcome all of their feelings comes from receiving the Holy Spirit which includes courage, boldness, confidence,  insight, ability, and authority.  The disciples would need these gifts to fulfill their mission.

If you believe in Christ you can experience the power of the Holy Spirit. Acts is an important book for us today because it confirms that the power which transformed the disciples' lives is the same power that can transform our lives today! That power is, of course, God himself—coming to us through the Holy Spirit.

What area in your life do you need the Holy Spirit to transform?

Friday, April 3, 2015

Jesus is Alive!

The resurrection of our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ is vitally important to our Christian Faith:
  1. It means Jesus kept his promise to rise from the dead. Therefore we can hold on to the other promises he made.
  2. The bodily resurrection of Jesus ensures that the ruler of God's eternal kingdom will be The Living Christ.
  3. Christ's resurrection gives us the assurance that we also will be resurrected. Death is not the end - there is future life.
  4. The power of God that brought christ's body back from the dead is available to us to bring our morally and spiritually dead selves back to life so we can change and grow. 
  5. The resurrection is the basis of the church's witness to the world. Jesus is the Son of God, not just a mere human leader. 
Jesus is Alive! 


inspired from Life Application Bible NIV

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Loving Discipline and Knowledge

Loving Discipline and Knowledge
24 The hand of the diligent will rule, But the slack hand will be put to forced labor25 Anxiety in a man's heart weighs it down, But a good word makes it glad. 26 The righteous is a guide to his neighbor, But the way of the wicked leads them astray.…


Martin Luther once said, "We need to hear the Gospel every day, because we forget it everyday." A lot of the people in this country need healing. Not just physical, but emotional, financial, mental. As a Christ Follower, we need to be able to provide a good word, a word of comfort to our friends that are hurting.  A good word comforts, cheers, and encourages a friend in distress. A true word of encouragement will lift their heart and cause inspiration and joy.  You may be asking what is a good word ... well, such a good word is the Gospel itself.  The Gospel will quench their thirst.  
Our family and friends need us to be stirred up in the word so when they are distressed we, through God, can provide the comfort.  Dare yourself each day to be a blessing to someone. This could be the greatest gift you ever give someone and the love that prompts this gift provides new life through Jesus. Verse 26 encourages the encourager that their efforts will be a guide upon their neighbor. God will encourage you in your path too. 

Tell the failure, about The Forgiver
Tell the sinner, about The Savior
Tell the broken, about The  Healer
Tell the lost, about The Good Shepherd


Jesus Overcame the World

These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world.
(John 16:33)  

The word tribulation in Greek can be translated as pressure and can also mean anguish, burdened, persecution, or trouble. It is easy for us to feel succumbed to life's pressures and anguish during these times.We have children killing children, sex & slave trafficking, heightened race and sex issues, broad daylight, etc. HOWEVER, as the body of Christ, we must remember though the tribulations we see seem greater, God is that much greater to overcome the things we see. Christ asked us to be encouraged despite these things because he has subdued the world. There is nothing in the world that could take away His Glory. At some point we need to speak to our circumstances and consider ourselves victors and not the victim. We have power over our circumstances. No more letting this world deceive us into thinking our foundation is crumbling. I refuse to let this world discount what Jesus did for us. Jesus overcame the world. YES, Jesus did it. Stand in your victory. It's like the bully, at some point you have to face it face to face.

During my college football days spring football was 10% Physical / 90% Mental. It is the same for challenging military / law enforcement training programs.  This refers to how well you mentally push yourself through pain. My former coach once told me "mental is twice as hard if you show up out the shape."  So the key here is to show up mentally prepared when your circumstance start to rise up so you can break every chain. 

Remember ... JESUS DID IT!