Let God’s Purpose Prevail

It says in Proverbs 19:21 (NIV),  Many are the plans in a person’s heart, but it is the Lord’s purpose that prevails.”

As we go into the new year and we begin to make plans, keep Prov 19:21 in mind.  We can make all kinds of plans and resolutions, but full blessing comes from allowing God to lead in those plans.  There’s been plenty of times in my walk with the Lord that I’ve made plans and God blessed them to a certain level, but if I had actually looked to Him first, the blessings would have been complete and overflowing.

The definition of PURPOSE is “the reason for which something is done or created or for which something exists.”  So to have an understanding of the purpose of God in your life and your plans makes the making of a plan a whole different process.  To look to Him in making plans is to give some time to seek His will in your life.  Since we live in a time of microwave lifestyle, we have a hard time waiting for anything.  Waiting to hear from Him while making plans make us nervous.  I find that when I wait till the last minute to make a plan, I’ve put myself in a bind and don’t have the time to wait to hear from Him.

That’s why right now is a good time to contemplate what it is you need to plan.  Then you take the time to pray and meditate on the Word of God.  Give Him time to communicate to you whether it is through the Word of God, which is our manual of life, or through that still, small voice.  He can also speak to us by giving us a peace within us when asking Him about something.  Let the Holy Spirit that is inside you to lead you and guide you to the next thing.  When you have procrastinated and are rushed, then you have done a disservice to Him because you are not giving Him the time it takes to communicate to us.

His purpose should and will prevail.  You can make plans without Him, but in the long run, plans made with His guidance and His purpose in mind will be the road to prosperity and peace.  He wants to be a part of our lives as much as we will let Him.  And to let Him contribute to the plan of our lives is the way to walking in His peace, His purpose, and His prosperity.  As you are coming into the new year, give Him an open door to guiding and leading you into the rest of your life, in every area of your life.

H.O.P.E.

Ephesians 1:18 says, “I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.”

This is my prayer for all who read this.  That the eyes of your heart may be enlightened.  Why?  So that you may know the HOPE to which He has called you.  For what?  The riches of His glorious inheritance and His incomparably great power for us who believe.

Learning about who He is and gaining knowledge of our Lord’s character, integrity, and compassion is the best way for us to open the eyes of our hearts and to be enlightened.  Our hope then comes from knowing Him and  understanding who He is.  We can trust Him because we know Him to be trustworthy and honest.  We can put our hope in Him when we are confident in His love for us and His ability to protect and provide for us.

H.O.P.E. could stand for Honoring Our Prince Every day.  When we know Him, we can then honor Him.  To honor is to regard with great respect.  So when we determine that He is the One True God, the Holy One, the Creator of Heaven and Earth and that He loved us first, we regard Him with great respect; we honor Him and in that honoring hope springs up in our spirit.  We hope for “the riches of his glorious inheritance” and “his incomparably great power for us who believe.”

As you learn more about your Heavenly Father and the Christ who came to Earth to live among us and to take our place on the cross, I pray that hope springs up in your spirit and you can walk in the life that God has envisioned for you.  H.O.P.E. is Honoring Our Prince Every day so make a point to honor Him in your speech, your character, your actions, and your relationships.  And He will honor you with riches of His glorious inheritance.

An Attitude of Gratitude

My God is Elohim.  He is my creator.  He is the Creator.  He is your creator.  A creator is proud of his creation and that is the same way with our Lord.  Because He creates us, He loves us, and He is proud of us.  When He created you, He had a plan for your life.  If we can get that concept deep within our soul (which is our mind, will, and emotions), we would see ourselves differently.  Our self-image is in our mind, how we feel about ourselves.  If we can understand that God loves us, wants what is best for us, and that He is proud of us, we would walk in a room with our shoulders back and our head held high because we know that He believes in us.

Psalm 139:14 says, “I will praise You, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made; Marvelous are Your works, And that my soul knows very well.”  

Notice it says, “And that my soul knows very well.”  My soul is the mind, will, and emotion of the person.  As we spend time in His Word and in His presence, we learn more of the character of our Creator.  Our mind will be renewed by the Word of God and our faith will grow.  Our faith in who He is, His nature, His character.  When we know a person and learn the character of that person, we will come to trust that person.  If circumstances in someone’s life has made that person not trust people, then this is not an easy thing.  Learning to trust can be easy for some and more difficult for others.  That is why reading about who He is and putting our trust in Him is a growing process.

When we know in our soul (our mind, will, and emotions) about who God is, we can then trust Him in our spirit.  We can then put our trust in Him in our spirit and put our faith in Him.  Once we can do that, then we can be thankful for what He has done in our lives.  Being thankful and having an attitude of gratitude toward our Heavenly Father is one way to be close to Him and to honor the One who has created us and given us a purpose on this earth.

Wake up each day with an attitude of gratitude.

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.

 

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.

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.

 

Noah’s Rainbow

As I was teaching the 4 and 5 year olds this morning in church, I was reminded of God’s promises.  We have been teaching on the Fruits of the Spirit and how God helps us to be like Jesus by helping us to grow in the Fruits of the Spirit.  We were talking about faithfulness today and how God is faithful in His promises to us.  I read the story of Noah’s Ark to the children, and they are always fascinated with this story of the animals getting on the very big boat.  It was not the story in the curriculum but I thought of the rainbow that God gave Noah to remind him that He would never flood the whole earth again.  God has so many promises that He has made and He has not failed in any of them.

Galatians 5:22, “But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness and self-control.”  

Verse 25 is interesting, “Since we live by the Spirit, let us keep in step with the Spirit.”  God’s promises are as 2 Corinthians 1:20 says in the New Living Translation, “for all of God’s promises have been fulfilled in Christ with a resounding “Yes!” And through Christ, our “Amen” (which means “Yes”) ascends to God for His glory.”  

But why this discourse on “Yes” and “Amen”?  I’ve heard this scripture many times but let’s look at the previous scriptures and this “Yes” and “Amen” stuff will make more sense.

It begins in verse 17, “You may be asking why I changed my plan.  Do you think I make my plans carelessly?  Do you think I am like people of the world who say “Yes” when they really mean “No”?  As surely as God is faithful, our word to you does not waiver between “Yes” and “No.”  He is the one whom Silas, Timothy, and I preached to you, and as God’s ultimate “Yes,” he always does what he says.” 

His promises are always fulfilled.  Our faithfulness should be a direct response to God’s faithfulness.  This is one of His promises to us, that He is faithful.  Faithful to what?  Well, many things, but one in particular would be that He is faithful to forgive us our sin if we ask Him to.  If we cannot think of any other promise (which I am sure we can), this one is big enough to keep us faithful to our God who is faithful to us not matter what. There is so much more on this subject that I will expound on this another day.

Remember, anytime you see a rainbow, let it be a reminder of HIs promises to us and His faithfulness to fulfill His promises.