Activate Your Faith

SOME FAITH BASICS

What is faith?

Heb 11:1, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” (NKJV)

“Now faith is confidence in what we hope for and assurance about what we do not see.” (NIV)

“Now faith is the reality[a] of what is hoped for, the proof[b] of what is not seen.” (Holman Christian Standard Version)

NKJV says in Heb 4:14, “Seeing then that we have a great High Priest who has passed through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our confession.”

Heb 4:14 and Heb 10:23 both say to “Hold fast our confession.”

This is what you hold in place in that confidence as you stand firm for what you do not see. You put it in the place of as you are believing for the outcome.

How does faith come?

Rom 10:17, “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God. “(NKJV)

That’s a continuous verb in the Greek, so it means “hearing and hearing and hearing.” We don’t just hear once. We continue to hear. And how do we hear?  By reading the Word of God, by hearing preaching and teachers, but also by speaking it ourselves. There is no better way to grow our faith than by speaking it out loud and we hear ourselves speaking it. When we are speaking the Word of God, our “head faith” turns into “heart faith”.

The spirit of man is what grows, so it is in the heart that the Word has to get into for the faith to grow in a person.  It is like flowers.  If you water all around on the outside of the root system of the flowers, you are not helping it get its water.  You must make sure the water is getting to the plant’s roots for the water to do any good.

Romans 10:10, “For with the heart one believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (NKJV)

  1. with the heart we believe
  2. with the mouth we confess – speak

This works for not only salvation, but for anything that you are believing God for.

Then, of course, we have to look at Mark 11:23-24,

“For assuredly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, ‘Be removed and be cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that those things he says will be done, he will have whatever he says. 24 Therefore I say to you, whatever things you ask when you pray, believe that you receive them, and you will have them.”

  1. Say   2. Believe   3. Have it

If you will notice that the word “says” comes up more often than the believing.

We’ve all been given a or the measure of faith as it says in Rom 12:3, the Wycliff’s translation, the measure of faith. It is our responsibility to grow that faith that has been dropped into us.  That faith stays dormant inside of you until you choose to increase it and activate it.

ACTIVATE YOUR FAITH 

  1. One way to activate your faith is by speaking the Word of God.  Saying, or speaking, is an important part of activating your faith. Brother Hagin said “Faith is proving God’s Word by acting on it.”

Our words are extremely important in our fight of faith, as we fight the good fight of faith as in I Tim 6:12, “Fight the good fight of the faith. Take hold of the eternal life to which you were called when you made your good confession in the presence of many witnesses.”

Our words need to line up with the Word of God. And how do we do that? By speaking the Word of God. Find out what God says about it and only speak words that agree with that. For the Word of God is truth and everything else has to line up with that.

For healing, for bringing your prodigals back, for financial blessings, for marital blessings, etc. Find the will of God concerning this and speak the Word out loud.

Scriptures on healing, scriptures on blessings, scriptures on having favor with God and man, scriptures concerning your family, scriptures asking for wisdom, etc…, all these will grow in your spirit as you speak these words and grow your spirit man.

If you are not in the habit of speaking the Word out loud, write some scriptures on index cards and tape them around your house. Every time you see one of these, you read it, speak it out loud. Eventually, you will be doing it as a way of life.

  1. Another aspect of activating your faith is corresponding actions.

Have you noticed how ministers that pray for people will ask people to do something that they couldn’t do before? They are asking that person to do a corresponding action – to take a step of faith.

Here are some EXAMPLES in the Bible of people activating their faith by corresponding actions:

  1. The wedding in Cana. Jesus’ first miracle.

John 2, “Now there were set there six waterpots of stone, according to the manner of purification of the Jews, containing twenty or thirty gallons apiece. Jesus said to them, “Fill the waterpots with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. And He said to them, “Draw some out now, and take it to the master of the feast.” And they took it. When the master of the feast had tasted the water that was made wine, and did not know where it came from (but the servants who had drawn the water knew), the master of the feast called the bridegroom. 10 And he said to him, “Every man at the beginning sets out the good wine, and when the guests have well drunk, then the inferior. You have kept the good wine until now!”

That was their corresponding action. To fill them up with water, and then to draw some out to let the master taste it.

2. The cripple man from birth.

Acts 14:8-10, “And in Lystra a certain man without strength in his feet was sitting, a cripple from his mother’s womb, who had never walked. This man heard Paul speaking. Paul, observing him intently and seeing that he had faith to be healed, 10 said with a loud voice, “Stand up straight on your feet!” And he leaped and walked.” 

His corresponding action was to stand. Some have said, “No, I can’t.” And they don’t.  But this man chose to stand when told to.  And it was his corresponding action.

Several years ago, my husband and I had our house for sale and it had been on the market for awhile.  As I was praying one day, I believe the Lord told me to walk the property and speak the property sold, in Jesus’ name.  Well, I told my husband that we needed to walk tHE property and speak it sold, but he said that He did not hear that from the Lord.  A few times I brought it up to him, and he would always say that the Lord hadn’t told him to do that.  Finally, one day, he told me that maybe that was something that I was supposed to do since the Lord said it to me.  So finally, I got out there one day and walked the property line.  I was speaking the property sold.  I was waving my hands and speaking loudly.  I am sure that my neighbors thought that I had lost my mind.  But within a few days, we got an offer on our house and it was sold very soon after that.  That was my corresponding action.  When I activated my faith with that corresponding action, the answer came.

These are just 2 ways to activate your faith. 1) By speaking the Word and/or faith-filled words. And 2) By stepping out in corresponding actions.

Faith is active. And you must put it into action. It sits dormant until you put it into play. In any kind of ballgame,  there is no sense in studying the playbook, if you never put the plays into action.

We should come to God with our expectors on and put faith into action by speaking the Word and speaking faith-filled words and to act upon the Word of God.

 

Our Confidence is in Him

Jeremiah 17:7-8 (NIV) says, “But blessed is the one who trusts in the Lord, whose confidence is in Him. They will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.  It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.  It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

The definition of confidence is “the feeling or belief that one can rely on someone or something; firm trust.”  Having that feeling or belief that you can rely on our Lord, to have that firm trust, comes from knowing Him.  The only way to KNOW HIM like anyone else it so to spend time with Him.

When cultivating a relationship, whether it is a romantic relationship or a friendship, you spend time with that person.  You get to know that person by being with them, asking questions, talking about stuff.  The more time you spend with someone, the more you know that person.  Your trust or confidence in that person then comes from how he or she reacts to circumstances that arise while with that person.  You should not just take that person’s word for whether they are trustworthy or not.  You watch how he or she handle situations, whether they are trustworthy in their dealings with you and with others.

It is the same with the Lord.  The more time you spend time with Him and in His Word, the more you become acquainted with Him and His character.  As you cultivate your relationship with Him, you spend time with Him, talk to Him, and expect Him to communicate back to you.  You start off by giving Him small situations to entrust to Him and watch Him be trustworthy.  You let Him show you who He is and let Him build your confidence in Him.

How do we do that?  But spending time reading His Word.  Then by putting His Word into action.  Take a scripture that stands out to you, and meditate on it all day.  Maybe it is a scripture that gives you peace.  Let that peace come over you as you think on it.  Say it in your mind and say it our loud.

The Word is the only thing that is life-changing.  Hebrews 4:14 says in the NLT, “For the word of God is alive and powerful. It is sharper than the sharpest twoedged sword, cutting between soul and spirit, between joint and marrow. It exposes our innermost thoughts and desires.”

Let the Word teach you who our Lord is.  Have confidence in Him that He will be there for you in whatever circumstances you find yourself in.  Trust Him that He will see you through anything that comes your way.  Spend time with Him and find Him trustworthy so that you may have the confidence in Him.

In the 8th verse in Jeremiah 17 above, it says, “They (the people who have confidence in the Lord) will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream.  It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green.  It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”

The more you spend time with Him the more your roots are soaked with the nourishment they need to see you through a drought.  There will be no fear that you will dry out or that you won’t bear fruit.  You will have water to spare because you have been preparing and soaking your roots for the day of the drought.  These are the people who seem to be able to walk through a fire because they have prepared their root system in advance.  Soak up the Word of God so that you will be prepared for whatever fire comes your way, whatever drought or life-change may try to attack you.  You will have confidence in your Lord because you have developed that relationship so that you can count on Him to see you through.

 

 

The Lord is Trustworthy

It says in Psalm 145:13b, “The Lord is trustworthy in all He promises, and faithful in all He does.”  When we are not trustworthy, He is.  When we are not faithful, He is.  I love the fact that when I have not been faithful to Him, in spending time with Him or in His Word, He is still faithful to me.  He is waiting on me to show up for our next appointment.  He is always on the ready for our next adventure together.  I may be the one not showing up on time or on a regular basis, but He is and He is always waiting for my attention.

I’ve heard people say “I don’t feel close to God right now.”  Or “I don’t believe God is doing anything for me now.”  I’ve heard others say, “I don’t feel like God is hearing me.”  All these are common thoughts or phrases.  But keep in mind, He is the one that is faithful and trustworthy.  If we are not feeling close to God, it is because we have put others or other things in front of Him and have not spent enough time with Him.

Saints, in I John 5:15, it says, “This is the confidence we have in approaching God: that if we ask anything according to his will, he hears us.”  We only have to go back to the Word to remind us that when we ask, He hears!  Now it is up to us to fine tune our relationship with HIm to hear Him when He answers.  We can’t blame God for our unfaithfulness if we are not spending quality time with Him.  

The next verse, it says, “15 And if we know that he hears us—whatever we ask—we know that we have what we asked of him.”  But we must be confident that He hears us.  His Word says He does.  If we believe the inerrant Word of God, then we must believe that when we ask, He hears. And if we know that He hears us, then we know that He will answer.

One of the things that we Christians are commanded to do, is to become more like Christ.  So strive toward faithfulness and trustworthiness in the things of God.  Be faithful to spending time with your Father.  Be trustworthy to show up for your appointments with Him.  He is faithful and trustworthy, waiting patiently for your next appointment together.

That Which Concerns Me

I was going through some personal issues and wondering how I can get peace through these times.  In the past I have walked in John 14:27 in which Jesus says that I can walk in His peace, the peace that He walked in.  But that did not seem to bring the peace of mind that I was needing.

Then I was reading in Psalms 138 and came across verse 8 where it says “The Lord will perfect that which concerns me.”  I realized that I had to leave it in His hands to perfect.  I needed to give up the plans I had to fix the problem and trust Him that He will perfect the situation.  It says “that which concerns me.”  He has my back.  He knows what issues I am dealing with and He says that He will perfect it.  Who am I to come in and try to fix something that He is trying to do?  What a revelation and comforting thought that someone bigger than me, smarter than me, more capable than me will come in and take care of the situation.

I release these things into His hand and I trust that He will perfect them.  He knows what concerns me.  He knows the anguished that I have struggled with.  He knows the failures, the mistakes, and the disappointments, and He says, “let me take this off your hands and perfect it in my own way.”

I Cor 2:5 says, “that your faith should not be in the wisdom of men but in the power of God.”  I do not have any wisdom than can trump God’s power.  I need to get my wisdom out of the way, and let God’s power handle the situation.  Man’s wisdom is inferior to God’s power in any situation, and I have to remember to get myself out of the way and let Him work “in that which concerns me.”

God cares about what concerns me just as He cares about what concerns you.  Let Him work in your life and in the situations that concern you and your loved ones.

Love Myth Busters

During my prayer time on one of the Monday Night Prayer Services, I felt like the Lord was impressing on me that this church, not just the Church Universal, but this specific church needs to get ready for what lies ahead.  As times get tougher concerning the economy, the election, the shift in society’s morals, we at Trinityalgood need to get ready for the people who will be hurting and hungry during these coming times.

We are known in the community as the church who helps people, and we will continue to do this.  In the past, we have been financially blessed and able to meet the needs of many people in different areas that we have chosen to work in along with situations that arise.  As times get tougher on all of us, God will always provide for his people, and He will continue to bless us as we use our blessings by helping people.

As I was reading through Joseph’s story again the other day, something stood out to me that I had not thought of in the context of this story.

Let’s turn to GENESIS 41:1-40

As you read this instead of thinking about grain think of love in place of grain:

I believe God has told me that we as a church must prepare ourselves for the coming times.  But we are to do this through love, not grain.  We may be coming into a spiritual famine.  We may be seeing the beginnings of it now.

So what do you mean, God?  Build up our storehouses with love?  How is that done?

First thing we must do is look up the Love Chapter.

I CORINTHIANS 13 (NIV)  If I speak in the tongues[a] of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. If I give all I possess to the poor and give over my body to hardship that I may boast,[b] but do not have love, I gain nothing.
 Now the Message Bible:
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
That’s not my opinion; that is the Word of God.  We can do all these wonderful things, put food in the bellies of the poor, put backpacks in the hands of the children, put clothes and shoes on lonely, hurting people, but without love, we are nothing.  These are the actions of love and we will talk tonight about the fact that action is one of the languages of love.  But we must make sure that our love is sincere as the Word says in Romans 12:9 (NIV) 

Loving people who are difficult to love, sharing an encouraging word to someone who we may not know, going out of my way to help someone in need – these are the things that we must learn store in our storehouses for the times to come.

I believe the Lord is telling us to fill our storehouses with LOVE so that when times get tougher, we have a storehouse full of love for the hurting and hungry people who are trying to navigate the world around them, maybe a world that is falling apart.

Let’s  BUST SOME MYTHS ABOUT LOVE.

LOVE MYTH BUSTERS

#1 MYTH BUSTER: From the movie “Love Story”,

LOVE MEANS NEVER HAVING TO SAY YOU’RE SORRY.”

I read an article about Alli MacGraw.  She said that she was so young and not a trained actress that she just said the lines without any question.  If she had stopped and thought about it, she would not have agreed.

This goes against everything that the Word teaches about love and forgiveness.  We are who we are in Christ because God loved us so much.  He had His one and only Son take our place to be forgiven for our sins, even though Jesus was sinless.  He had nothing to be forgiven for, yet the blood-bought forgiveness was that important.

Matthew 6:15 (MSG)“In prayer there is a connection between what God does and what you do. You can’t get forgiveness from God, for instance, without also forgiving others. If you refuse to do your part, you cut yourself off from God’s part.

That busts that myth wide open.  We must forgive to be forgiven.  My husband is quick to ask for forgiveness.  That is something that I had to work at when I came into the kingdom.  That goes against what the world teaches or what logic dictates.  You must make the first move, whether you think you’ve done wrong or not.  That’s a hard one for a lot of us.

Hebrews 9:22 (NIV)22 In fact, the law requires that nearly everything be cleansed with blood, and without the shedding of blood there is no forgiveness.

It needs to hurt.  You haven’t really done anything if it’s easy.  No Pain, No Gain.  We must cut away the things that keep us from doing His will and, in this case, forgiving when we don’t think we should have to, forgiving when you are still hurting from the situation, forgiving when it is hard.

Colossians 3:13 (NIV) 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.

“Bear” here means to carry, to help carry a burden.

Remember:  We are busting myths about love so that we can fill our storehouses with love, building our knowledge about love and practicing love during these times so that we will be ready when the tougher times come.

#2 MYTH BUSTER:

“YOU CAN’T HELP WHO YOU LOVE.  YOU’RE NOT SUPPOSED TO.”

I know that this is a romantic love quote, but think about what it says about love in general.

What the Bible says in John 13:34 (NIV) 34 “A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.

So there, plain and simple, we are commanded to love.  It is a decision, not a thing we can’t control.  We are commanded to love our enemies.  That is a decision that we control.  We either choose to or not.

Romans 13:9 (NIV)  The commandments, “You shall not commit adultery,” “You shall not murder,” “You shall not steal,” “You shall not covet,”[a] and whatever other command there may be, are summed up in this one command: “Love your neighbor as yourself.”[b]

It did not say “your favorite neighbor” or “your friend the neighbor.”  We decide who we love and the Bible tells us everyone.  This seems like a simplistic ideal, but the Word is based on it.  Our salvation is based on it.  We can give the shirt off our back but if your motive is anything but love, then we gained nothing.

Developing our knowledge of what love is and how to act in love brings us to a place of giving love easily when, in any other situation, it would have been difficult.

#3 MYTH BUSTER:

“LOVE IS LIKE THE WIND, YOU CAN’T SEE IT BUT YOU CAN FEEL IT.”

Well, this sounds like a beautiful sentiment, but actually we do see love – through the actions of love.

God was the first to show us love that we can actually see.

1 John 4:9 (NIV) This is how God showed his love among us: He sent his one and only Son into the world that we might live through him.

Then the Word tells us to show our love in actions and in truth.  We have many examples in the Bible that we don’t have time to read, but consider Dorcas who made clothes for the poor out of her love for others.  There is Jonathan’s love for David and vice versa even though it went against Jonathan’s father Saul.  The disciples’ love for Jesus and then for others was shown by their travelling and ministering to spread the Gospel regardless of their safety.

1 John 3:18 (NIV)  18 Dear children, let us not love with words or speech but with actions and in truth.

And then the Word commands us to walk in love. 
2 John 6 (NIV) And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.

Now let’s go back to the Pharaoh’s Dream in Genesis 41.

Joseph interpreted that Pharaoh needed to prepare during the 7 years of plenty for the 7 years of famine.  I believe this is relevant to our situation now for we must prepare and fill our storehouses with love so that we are ready for the influx of people who will be asking questions and needing support.

It seems to be saying to me that if we are not careful, if our storehouses are not full of love, the practice and actions of love, then when the hard times come, we may fall out of the practice of love.  People get weird and stingy when times get hard, when jobs are scarce, when finances start drying up.  We want to make sure that we are acting out of love no matter what the situation is.

Our Words Create Our World

In the beginning…

Gen 1:

Created our world with His Word.

HIS WORD:

John 1:1-3, “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. He was with God in the beginning. Through him all things were made; without him nothing was made that has been made.”

The Word was with God from the beginning of time.  The Word was part of the creative process that made the world and everything in it.

John 1:14 then says, And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.”

 Who is the Word that became flesh and dwelt among us?

Jesus

Charles Capps, preacher, teacher, author, one of the founders of the Word of Faith movement in which Kenneth Hagin was a part:

“Words are the most powerful thing in the universe… Words are containers. They contain faith, or fear, and they produce after their kind.”  Charles Capps

Emily Dickenson said,

A word is dead
When it is said,
Some say.

I say it just
Begins to live
That day.

Heb 4:12, For the word of God is living and powerful, and sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing even to the division of soul and spirit, and of joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart.”

 Prov 18:21 says, “Death and life are in the power of the tongue, And those who love it will eat its fruit.”

 Words are living and breathing things and they can affect us in our walk with the Lord.   OUR WORDS CREATE OUR WORLD.

Luke 9:1-2 says, Then He called His twelve disciples together and gave them power and authority over all demons, and to cure diseases. He sent them to preach the kingdom of God and to heal the sick. 

Because we have the Word in us, which is Jesus Christ, and He has transferred authority to do His work on this earth, our words have the same creative power.

When we are talking about faith, it is important for us to understand that our words must line up with the Word of God.

But it is even more than that.  We should be watching our words in every situation of our lives.

Ever heard the old rhyme – “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words may never hurt me.  This is so untrue.  As words are spoken to us, we internalize them whether we mean to or not.  This is where so much of our self-image comes from before we come to the knowledge and understanding of our place and position with God as believers.

Even after becoming a child of God, if people don’t understand the true meaning of being a child of God, then they walk around defeated and unfulfilled.

OUR WORDS CREATE OUR WORLD.

These are some of the that people may say or we believe about ourselves:

UNWORTHY

DEPRESSED

BETRAYED

DIRTY

UGLY

REJECTED

LONELY

NOBODY

BROKENHEARTED

I Sam 3:19, “So Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him and let none of his words fall to the ground.”

Samuel understood the importance of every Word of God.  They have the power to create.  Just like negative words can create negative affects.  We should never let the Word of God fall to the ground but the bad words, words that are not pure, words that are not edifying, those we let fall to the ground, or better yet, we take captive and throw to the ground.

II Cor 10:4-5, says it clearly, For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ, 

 We must learn to take captive the thoughts that are not God’s thoughts of us.  We must take them captive and throw them out.  We replace the thoughts of the enemy that are trying to keep us from fulfilling our destiny with the thoughts that God has of us because:  REMEMBER, YOUR WORDS CREATE YOUR WORLD.

II Sam 7:28, “And now, O Lord God, You are God, and Your words are true, and You have promised this goodness to Your servant.

And what does the Word of God say about His children of God?  BECAUSE REMEMBER OUR WORDS CREATE OUR WORLD.

Instead of believing the words of man, let’s believe the Words of God and what HE believes about us:

UNWORTHY…………………RIGHTEOUS

DEPRESSED…………………JOYFUL

BETRAYED…………………..RESTORED

DIRTY…………………………CLEAN

UGLY………………………….BEAUTIFUL

REJECTED……………………ACCEPTED

LONELY……………………….CHILD OF GOD, PART OF A FAMILY

NOBODY………………………KING’S KID

BROKENHEARTED…………..WHOLE

Words are living and breathing things.  They can be negative and keep us down and they can be positive and help us to walk in the righteousness of God in Christ.  The words that we speak over ourselves will determine what type of walk with God we will have.  If we believe we are unworthy, we won’t feel that we have to right to ask God for anything.  The Word says that God’s Words are true – which means that words that do not line up with the Word of God are untrue.

OUR WORDS CREATE OUR WORLD.  They determine if we are walking in defeat or in victory, in depression or in joy, in failure or success. It’s about the mind lining up with the promises of God and how God thinks about us, His children.

Challenge:  Take this week to very specifically think about your words, think about what you think about yourself.

In education, it is big concept right now about thinking about your thinking.  We can do that as well. Brother Hagin used to call not thinking in line with the Word as STINKING THINKING.  Let’s get rid of this sticking thinking and replace it with how God thinks of us.

 

Times, They are A-Changing

Wow, I know it’s been a looooong time since I have blogged.  Life as you know changes all the time.  I quit teaching and started a paint business.  I loved the freedom and the creativity that I had not had in my previous profession.  I was able to travel with my husband for his ministry and I had freedom to be more involved in my church.  Then I was called by a principal to do a mentoring program at his school and I started that right before the Christmas break and have been doing that so far this year.  I have flexibility in my schedule because I do home visits in the evenings.  I have enjoyed working one-on-one with students and visiting with families in the evenings.  But with that, came lots of changes in our schedule.

Times are changing.  Our social environment is changing faster that we can keep up with.  The Bible warns us of these times.  And we are to prepare for the coming changes.

Proverbs 29:18New International Version (NIV) says:

18 Where there is no revelation, people cast off restraint;
    but blessed is the one who heeds wisdom’s instruction.

When we choose to not be in the Word (which is where our revelation comes from), establishing what is right and wrong, letting it guide and lead us through our daily lives, then people will cast off restraints.  When we begin to be influenced by the world, and become more like the world, we will eventually cross over that line of sin and restraint that we thought we would never cross.  When we begin to compromise our stand on spiritual things, we will begin to allow things in our lives that may be harmful to our spiritual development.  When we spiritually look like the world, then how can someone who needs the Lord determine who can help them?

We need to be able to stand out as being different, living up to a different standard.  People will know who to turn to when the issues of life try to overtake them.  Times are changing — our economy, our place in the world, our nation’s social morality.  We must be on the alert.  Don’t be caught sleeping spiritually through these changes.  Don’t stick your head in the sand and assume everything is okay.  God will take of His people, but we must be ready to help others in need when they are calling out for help.

Holy and Dearly Loved

I was reading Colossians 3 in I found in verses 12-14 some astounding statements.

Colossians 3:12-14 says, “Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone.  Forgive as the Lord forgave you.  And over all these virtues put on love, which bonds them all together in perfect unity.”

Wow, the first statement makes all the rest come to pass in our lives.  It says “as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly love.”  If we could truly grasp what this means to us, that we are holy and dearly loved.  Every human in the world desires to be dearly loved.  We are born with the innate desire to be loved.  So no matter what our upbringing was, whether loving or not, we can look to our Heavenly Father to dearly love us.  First and foremost, before we can embark on the journey our Heavenly Father has for us, which is stated in the next scriptures, we must understand and truly absorb what being dearly loved means.

There are three kinds of love: eros love, philos love, and agape love.  We are familiar with eros love.  Eros is a Greek term which means desire and longing.  It is romantic love and has much to do with the physical attraction we have between man and woman.  In the beginning of a romantic relationship, this kind of love is apparent but if it is not checked and kept in balance, it can become selfish and possessive.

Philos love is in relationships that we have with brothers and sisters just as with our Christians brothers and sisters.  It is a fondness and familiarity with people with like minds.  We pal around with people who like to do the same things and think the same way.  This is a rewarding kind of love that we have with friends and family but it is not always reliable and it can be hurtful at times when relationships go sour.

Agape love is the love Jesus has for His Father, that God has towards us, and the love that we are commanded to have toward everyone, believer or not.  Unlike eros and philos love, we do not have to have a feeling to act on this kind of love.  It is more a decision and, with that decision, we act loving towards others.  This decision to love comes from the fact, not feeling, that God loves us conditionally, therefore we should want to reciprocate that by loving others in the same way.  If we can truly understand this agape love that God has for us, it comes naturally that we show love toward others.  If we are not loving toward others, we may not really understand how we are loved dearly by our Heavenly Father.  This love is unconditional and everlasting.  You can do nothing to make it go away.

The next scripture then says that we should “clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.”  Since we are dearly loved, we should work on developing these attributes of compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness, and patience.  This is not to say we can do these immediately after receiving Christ, but that we should work to develop these in our lives through studying the Word of God which teaches us how to live our lives worthy of Him.  And that post is for another day.

Today, know that God dearly loves you and wants the best for you.  He desires that you be blessed as you are His child just all fathers want their children to be blessed.  He loves you with agape love that is unconditional and everlasting.

 

The God of All Comfort

II Corinthians 1:3-4 says, “Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.  For just as we share abundantly in the sufferings of Christ, so also our comfort abounds through Christ.

I find this comforting in itself, for it says that I am comforted with the very comfort from God Himself.  This a supernatural comfort, a comfort straight from God.  As I share comfort to others, I am sharing the comfort from our Living God.  It says He is the Father of compassion.  I pray that I am led to be compassionate as He is compassionate.  I want to be His hands and feet in these matters.  If I walk in the understanding that this comfort comes from my Heavenly Father, then I can walk in a supernatural compassion which will give people hope and encouragement.  I may not be naturally compassionate, but I can walk in this compassion because it comes from the heart of God.  My personality may not be naturally comforting, but this scripture tells me that I can comfort those in trouble or need with the comfort that I have received from my Father.

We are His hands and feet in this world, and to be able to comfort and give compassion in His Name is an honor that we should cherish.  Our Heavenly Father has a compassion with no end.  He is compassionate when we are not.  He is faithful when we are not.  He loves us unconditionally and we can walk in the knowledge of this and it gives us the drive to please Him and minister to His children.

Cookin’ on the Square

Yesterday, the City of Cookeville once again had a successful Cookin’ on the Square fundraiser for Putnam County Habitat for Humanity.  While I started chopping on Thursday evening about 6 o’clock to prepare 10 gallons of Jaida’s Jambalaya, he ran out to my mother’s to pick up her gumbo that she had already prepared for the event.  I had most of the onions, bell peppers, celery, and Andouille sausage chopped up and realized that I needed to double my ingredients to make another pot.  We then went to the storage room to pick up the turkey fryers and large pots and went to the grocery store again and bought 8 more onions, 8 more bell peppers, 4 more bundles of celery and more Andouille sausage.  While Mike prepared the pots and set up the turkey fryers, I started chopping the second batch of veggies and sausage.

At midnight, we started both pots with all the veggies, sausage, beef broth, diced tomatoes, tomato paste, and various spices.  We then set the clock for 3:00, 5:00, and 7:30 am and went to bed at 1:00 am.  Each time the alarm went off, we got up to check the fires and the jambalaya.  It was smelling great and it was right on schedule.  Once we were up at 7:30 am, we began preparing for the day.  We gathered our hot sauces, hot pads, and lawn chairs.  We dropped the shrimp into one pot of jambalaya and got ready to head out to the square in Cookeville.

When we got there, you could just sense the excitement in the air.  Our church staff already had the tent up and the tables, tablecloths, and chafing dishes all set up.  The music was already playing in the background and everyone was setting up their booths too.  I love the way so many businesses get involved in this event.

We love the whole experience of preparing this meal for this annual event.  We enjoy the idea of contributing to a worthy cause, and it is something that my husband and I have shared over the past several years.  We were all set up ready to go then it was time to start visiting with all the passersby.

We saw so many people that we have known over the years here in Cookeville.  We have not seen some since our boys played ball, and others that we don’t usually run into around town.  It was a wonderful time of fellowship surrounded by a community of givers who sees Habitat for Humanity as a worthy cause of providing affordable housing for families who may otherwise not afford a nice home.