“You Make a Difference to God!”

God is after you, dear friend, in a good way.  He loves the masses, but the individual heart He wants to hold as His own.

There are so many things in our culture that can evoke an inferiority complex in people.  The barrage of advertisements that make one feel less than if they don’t have what others are offering.  The seemingly picture-perfect life displayed on the feeds of social media, causing a longing for what they appear to have, making one feel they don’t measure up to some invisible criteria.  The comparison factor of success that is too much alive in this world which causes many to believe they will never be what another is.

That’s good because God created you and me to be us!  The masses that come to Him don’t negate the fact that He wants the individual heart – He wants the individual life – He wants the individual you!  You make a difference to God!  You are important to God!

God will leave the ninety-nine sheep in the wilderness to go after that one which is lost because that one is special to Him (Luke 15:1-7).  That one is cared about by Him.  That one is loved by Him and He wants that one with Him because to God, they make a difference.  God finds joy in just that one heart that will turn to Him, repent, and enter into blessed fellowship with Him.

When the individual heart turns to God through our Lord Jesus Christ, it puts a smile on God’s face and makes the angels rejoice (Luke 15:10) because despite what the world tries to make us believe or feel, each one of us makes a difference to God.  You are valuable to God and He loves you more than you could ever know.

Inspiration:

“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”  – Psalm 139:14

“Fear ye not therefore, ye are of more value than many sparrows.” – Matthew 10:31

“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” – Romans 5:8

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me.” – Galatians 2:20

“But as many as received him, to them gave he power to become the sons of God, even to them that believe on his name.” – John 1:12

“For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end.” – Jeremiah 29:11

“For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus unto good works, which God hath before ordained that we should walk in them.” – Ephesians 2:10

You are uniquely loved by God.  You make a difference to God!

Photo: Pixabay/DreamPixer

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“Carry God’s Presence Today”

 

“Now it was so, when Moses came down from Mount Sinai . . . Moses did not know that the skin of his face shone while he talked with Him,” Exodus 34:29

No matter what you do today:

WORK ………………………………………………….

SCHOOL ………………………………………………

PLAY ……………………………………………………

SNOW ………………………………………………….

RAIN …………………………………………………….

SUN ……………………………………………………..

HARDNESS ………………………………………….

PEACE …………………………………………………

ADVERSITY ………………………………………….

SPOUSE ………………………………………………

CHILDREN ……………………………………………

FRIENDS ………………………………………………

MOM …………………………………………………….

POP ……………………………………………………..

VACATION ……………………………………………

DAY OFF ………………………………………………

PRAYER ……………………………………………….

BIBLE …………………………………………………..

CHURCH ………………………………………………

OUTREACH ………………………………………….

VISITATIONS ………………………………………..

WITNESSING ………………………………………..

TEACHING ……………………………………………

EXERCISING …………………………………………

GYM ……………………………………………………..

HOME …………………………………………………..

LAUNDRY …………………………………………….

DINNER ………………………………………………..

BEDTIME ………………………………………………

carry God’s presence with you!!!!  Let people know that you have been with Him!!!  Let your life reflect it!!!

When Moses met with God his face shone, carrying evidence of being in God’s presence. What kind of evidence do people see in us that lets them know that we have met with God. As we start this new day, are we carrying God’s presence with us no matter what we are doing? May we shine for Him and let His presence be magnified in us!

Photo: Pixabay

Familiarity Doesn’t Have to Breed Contempt

 

Image Credit: Pixabay/rawpixel

Daily routines and associations with those closest to us can sometimes cause us to downplay their strengths and pick apart little things about them. A surface of critiquing and criticizing seems easier to some than delving into what’s below the surface to focus on the greater good dwelling in an individual.

One prime example of this sort of relationship is within marriage.  Spouses who have been married for any considerable amount of time with the ins and outs of daily life can sometimes start to hone in on what bothers them the most about the other as opposed to purposefully looking to view them in light of all the positives they have to bring to the table.

Why is it so easy to see what doesn’t please us about people and harder to focus on their good attributes?  Why does it seem easier to dismiss the familiar just because they are, well, familiar?

Jesus knew exactly how it felt to be dishonored in such a way.  Once He is quoted as saying, “A prophet is not without honour, but in his own country, and among his own kin, and in his own house,” Mark 6:4.

Common sense would tell us to support and uphold those closest to us; to have their back and cheer them on when seeing them trying to get ahead or excel at life.  We have no problem when it comes to doing this on a national level, say for the Olympics.  We give that one competing for our country our support and we stand in front of the screens rooting them on to win so that nationally we gain a medal at the end.

But for those closest to us, when we see them talk of their dreams and make plans to forge ahead into the future unknown; when we see them start ministries, set goals, and go after where they feel God is leading them, is it easier to downplay that  than offer the support we so willingly give to others whom nationally we don’t even know?  Does our opinion of them, because we knew them way back when alter our perspective of their current work, hopes, and dreams?

In Luke 4, Jesus, quoting the same verse as above, also gave two examples from their history of people who received blessings although they were not of the Jewish people.  One was the widow of Zarephath in the region of Sidon and the other was Naaman the Syrian (vss. 26-27).  Both were Gentiles and not of the “familiar” countrymen of which Jesus spoke.

The widow received provision during the time of famine and Naaman received healing from a normally incurable disease.  They weren’t blinded by the familiar, rather they opened their hearts to the link that God had placed right in front of their faces to receive the blessing He had in store for them.

Don’t let the familiar cause you to miss out on the blessings found in the people that God has already placed in your life.  To you, they may seem like, “Oh, that just so and so.  No need to worry about them.”  But, they may be your connection to that blessing that God wants to pour into your life.  Don’t count your blessings out (like those whom Jesus was talking about) just because you know the source from which it flows.

And, what if you are the one being rejected like Jesus was; because people know you and don’t want to receive or accept the gift of God in you?  You press on anyhow.  You don’t dwell on people, but you dwell on the God who gave you the gift and has entrusted you to work His works in your life.

Even if a person doesn’t support you – God does.  He does not neglect the gifts that He has placed in you and don’t you do it either (see 1 Timothy 4:14).  Don’t cower at their rejection, rather you stir up that gift and let the flames be fanned (see 2 Timothy 1:6).

Jesus was rejected and He also warned in another verse, “If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you,” (John 15:18).  In other words, no matter who you are, and no matter what gift you have in you not everybody is going to be on board with you or supportive of the work of God in you.

What do you do?  How do you deal with that contemptuous familiarity then?  You do what Jesus did: “He passing through the midst of them went his way,” (Luke 4:30).  You keep on keeping on.  Jesus didn’t stand around and try to convince them to receive Him.  Life is too short for that; His time on earth would declare as some of us say today, “Ain’t nobody got time for that.”  We have limited time here on earth and God needs our gifts and ministries up and running and being effective for His kingdom.

What do you do?  You follow the path of God for your life.  You continue to go forth working the works of God He placed in you, sowing seeds of ministry wherever He leads you.

Familiarity breeds contempt can work two ways: it causes us to miss out on the best of people that God has already placed in our lives, and it causes rejection of what you personally can bring to the table, seeking to hinder you, but it doesn’t have to.

With the love of God operating in us, we can look at those around us and be thankful for the familiar and the special things that each one brings to our lives.  And, with our faith in God we can march forth in the destiny He has in store for us regardless of who has our backs because, “If God be for us, who can be against us?” (Romans 8:31).  We can stay positive in what He has called us to and not succumb to the negative because of the familiar.

For either end that one may find themselves on, we have Jesus as our prime example on how to deal with it.  Follow Him and you will never be led wrong.  Familiarity doesn’t have to breed contempt.  God may be doing something new in the midst of the ordinary and you don’t want to miss it.

“It’s Saturday!”

The day before Sunday is like no other. It’s the day that comes at the end of the work week and comes before the day of worship. There are so many possibilities with this day. Sleep in or go out? Veg out in front the TV or seek adventure? Clean or do you say forget it, “I clean every day and today I’m taking a break!” How will you spend your time?

Time. That’s a four little word with great impact. Time is something we can never get back. Time is something that will keep moving forward whether you are ready to go with it or not. Time is precious. Time is valuable. How one spends their time can either add to their life or take away from it.

Time. Extra time is not promised. We can’t buy more time. Rather, we must lay hold of with an iron grip the time that has been allotted to us and make the best use of it for our lives, our families, and our ministries.

Time. What will you do with it? We deserve rest because we worked hard. Take the time. We deserve adventure, something that will heighten our senses because we have stayed the course of the mundane all week. Take the time. Clean? . . . well, we’ll just leave that one alone for now.

Time. As crazy as it seems to us, it goes by in a flash when you don’t want it to and it drags when you wish it would speed up. That’s why every moment counts. Every opportunity should be seized. Every second savored.

Time. We don’t have as much of it as we would like, and yet God blessed us with the amount we need. How we choose to use it is up to us.

What will you do with your time today? There is no right or wrong answer. If you worked hard and want to sit in front of the tv because your brain needs a few hours vacation, then do so. If your body has been stuck in the office all week and you feel a need to stretch and exercise to get it moving, then do so. If you chose to let the house go one day so that you can have time for yourself, then do so. It’s Saturday! It’s your time! Make the most of it for you!

Keep in mind, once this Saturday goes by, it will not come again. Oh, yes, there will be other Saturdays, but not this Saturday. There will be other chances and opportunities, but not like today. Today is for you – it’s your Saturday, what will you do?

Ephesians 5:16 encourages us to redeem the time. Grab hold of today and make the most of it! It’s only here today. So, what will you do with today?

Whatever you do, make today count! It’s Saturday, enjoy “you” on this day!

God bless you and enjoy your Saturday 🙂

Photo credit: Pixabay

“A Woman Ready!”

 

Deep breath in.  With what seems to be the weight of the world on her shoulders, she marched forward not sure of the outcome. . .

People grapple with decisions every day.  Choices that make us question is this or is this not the right time or thing for me to do at this very moment.  After all, these daily decisions and choices we make don’t stay within the premise of the day.  Rather, they are far more reaching and can become a foreteller of what our future will be tomorrow.

Nevertheless, Queen Esther refused to fight with the what-ifs of life.  She didn’t hesitate about the next step she had to take.  She prayed.  She fasted.  With great resolve and determination, her heart was ready to go see the king (see the story of Esther in the Bible).

Imagine a race, if you will.  There you are at the starters block and the gun raises to sound the time to go.  If there be just a moment of hesitation the race would already be lost and one cannot claim the victory at the end.

The question is are we ready?  Do we have hearts that are fixed and minds made up with the same determination and resolve to go at the sounding of our time?

Queen Esther did.  She was a woman ready.  She would do what she had to do to save her people, even if it cost her life.  But, she didn’t let fear have its way.  Through the court gates she went, approaching the king, where her readiness of heart and mind gained her the victory.

Male or female.  Be determined in where God is calling you for such a time as this.  Be ready to step out in faith and believe that you will see the victory in the end.  Now, go.

Photo: Pixabay/729714

Community of Believers | We are here for one another!

 

Races can take you through many terrains.  Running uphill, it’s hard.  The more you go, the steeper the incline, the harder it gets.  Breath after breath your chest heaves for relief.  Push after push your muscles cry out for mercy.  And, just when you thought you had no more in you; just when you thought you couldn’t go any farther, from behind there comes these hands out of nowhere that steadies your stride and helps propel you forward some more.  On the side of you comes smiling faces with encouraging words grabbing hold of your arms and help pull you up that incline that you might finish your race.  They want to help you make it.

The Apostle Paul often described our Christian life as a race (1 Corinthians 9:24-27).  We run it.  We press for it.  But, sometimes the way gets hard and if it had not been for the grace of God, we would not have made it.

As the community of racers pushed and pulled the struggling runner uphill, so God will minister to us to help us go through our race.  Often this is done through the community of believers that will come alongside the one that needs support.

In this world the struggle is real.  May we, as a community of believers, recognize the support that each one needs.  May we join up with our fellow Christian race runners and offer the help and encouragement they need to make it.  May we see beyond our own race and allow God to use our hands and smiling faces to help bolster someone’s faith as they are striving to make it up the inclines of this life.

We all have the same goal in mind: to finish the race.  We need each other to do it.  As a community of believers, our job goes beyond spreading the gospel and being a light in this dark world, and all the other spiritual stuff it entails.  Our job is also to seek the welfare of one another.  We need to be there for one another.  We need to be present and involved in the process of what they are going through “that there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another. And whether one member suffer, all the members suffer with it; or one member be honoured, all the members rejoice with it,” (1 Corinthians 12:25-26).  

More encouraging verses and quotes:

“Wherefore comfort yourselves together, and edify one another, even as also ye do.” 1 Thessalonians 5:11

“Bear ye one another’s burdens, and so fulfil the law of Christ.” Galatians 6:2

Two are better than one; because they have a good reward for their labour. For if they fall, the one will lift up his fellow . . .” Ecclesiastes 4:9-10a

“God has chosen us to help one another.” Smith Wigglesworth

“The first question which the priest and the Levite asked was: ‘If I stop to help this man, what will happen to me?’ But… the Good Samaritan reversed the question: ‘If I do not stop to help this man, what will happen to him?'” Martin Luther King, Jr.

Photo Source: Pixabay

Confident in God!

There is always something about the stories where the underdog comes out on top, where the least of all becomes the greatest that sends chills of inspiration up the spine.

The story of David and Goliath has long evoked a sense awe at the victory won and the hope of possibility in the soul still in the fight facing his/her own giants. The fact of the matter is that many things in this life which we face day to day can at times seem too much to bear.  Our worries don’t necessarily have to be against the biggest guy around.  Just the struggle of making it one more day, another try at giving it your best shot, can make it really hard for some people.

That’s why this article is not going to focus on the beast Goliath was or how David brought him down with just a stone and slingshot.

Nope. I want us to focus on the confidence that David had in God.

To me, it doesn’t matter if what you face is big or small. Sometimes the hardest stuff is the routine, small stuff that gets on your nerves every single day and makes you want to throw in the towel and quit.

Yes, David did the impossible in the name of the Lord. But, what I have found out in my own life is when we evoke that same confidence in God in every area of our lives, big or small, God tends to step in and work it out for us.  And, you know it was Him because that very area in life that used to be a source of hardship and frustration now becomes a place of peace and productivity.

David, before confronting Goliath, declared, “The LORD delivered me from the paw of the lion and from the paw of the bear, He will deliver me from the hand of this Philistine,” (1 Samuel 17:37, NKJV. emphasis mine).  I want us to focus on “He will” of that statement.  David expressed in those two little words the amount of confidence he had in the God he served.

Confidence in God the key no matter what. Many of times we misplace our confidences in the things and the people we see around us, allowing them to become our focus and control, when God should be at the forefront of the battle with us.  Over and over again we are told in His Word, “It is better to trust in the LORD than to put confidence in man,” (Psalm 118:8, NKJV); yet, man seems to always get more of our attention and we wonder why we falter in the battle and don’t end up standing as victor over the giants and circumstances we face.

We have to rely more on God than anything else in this world. He truly is the only one who can get in there and fight with us and for us and bring us to a victorious end on the other side.

Below are some reminders to trust God and have confidence in Him no matter the size of anything we face. Knowing this will improve our day to day struggles in life and turn them into day to day victories.

  • “Trust in the LORD with all thine heart; and lean not unto thine own understanding.” – Proverbs 3:5
  • “Trust ye in the LORD for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength.” – Isaiah 26:4
  • “Trust in the LORD, and do good; so shalt thou dwell in the land, and verily thou shalt be fed.” – Psalm 37:3
  • “Ye shall not need to fight in this battle: set yourselves, stand ye still, and see the salvation of the LORD with you, O Judah and Jerusalem: fear not, nor be dismayed; to morrow go out against them: for the LORD will be with you.” – 2 Chronicles 20:17
  • “Never be afraid to trust in unknown future to a known God.” – Corrie Ten Boom
  • “Faith is a living, daring confidence in God’s grace, so sure and certain that a man could stake his life on it a thousand times.” – Martin Luther
  • “So many of us limit our praying because we are not reckless in our confidence in God. In the eyes of those who do not know God, it is madness to trust Him, but when we pray in the Holy Spirit we begin to realize the resources of God, that He is our perfect heavenly Father, and we are His children.” – Oswald Chambers

“When the Father speaks…”

There is a lot of inner dialogue that goes on and there is a lot of outer dialoguing that goes on.  The inner dialogue comes from the person within.  It talks to oneself sometimes words of encouragement, and that’s okay.  But, when it begins to express doubt, confusion and rehearses hurt repeatedly, it becomes a dangerous voice causing one to lose out on some of the best stuff God has for them.

The outer dialogues we hear daily comes from the voices all around.  Again, sometimes one may hear words of love, but when these voices speak criticism, discouragement, and put-downs, their words need to be silenced and replaced because they are not doing anything to one up or to help along the way.

Any voice, inner or outer, which speaks contrary to the words of the Father, must be made to shut up.  When the Father speaks, His is a heavenly dialogue, and what He has to say far outweighs any word on earth.

When the Father speaks His words are power.  “God hath spoken once; twice have I heard this; that power belongeth unto God,” (Psalm 62:11).  Every other speech will fail and grow weak when it meets up against the strength of what He has to say.  “For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword…” (Hebrews 4:12).

When the Father speaks His words are fulfilling.  “So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: it shall not return unto me void, but it shall accomplish that which I please, and it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it,” (Isaiah 55:11).  In the sea of worthless words that drown the hearing of this world, God’s Word can be trusted to do what He said He would do.  It will succeed at everything spoken of it.

When the Father speaks His words are truth.  False speech seems to dominate this world.  Whatever the platform, people are careless and deceitful with the words that they throw around.  But God’s words are dependable and faithful.  They are “truth” (John 17:17) and His words don’t lie (Numbers 23:19).  “For the word of the LORD is right; and all his works are done in truth,” (Psalm 33:4).

When the Father speaks His words are life.  Jesus said, “…the words that I speak unto you, they are spirit and they are life,” (John 6:63).  Not only are His words filled with life-giving power in the here and now, but when He speaks they are words of eternal life (John 6:68).  For those who believe in His Word, it will provide them with everything they need to live.

And, when the Father speaks, it is forever.  “The grass withereth, the flower fadeth: but the word of our God shall stand for ever,” (Isaiah 40:8; see also Matthew 24:35).  There will never be a time when His Word will not be.  All the inner and outer dialogues that take place daily will eventually pass away.  But, everything declared in His Word, shall be forever.  It’s not going anywhere.  Therefore, we can stake our very lives on it, live by it, and hope in it.  Because, when the Father speaks, His Word will always be there for us through it all.

Today, when the Father speaks, let His voice be louder than all others and let His words be the strength for your day.

“It Only Takes a Moment” – Word For Life Says

Photo: Pixabay/silviarita

Have you ever had one of those moments when you realize God is teaching you something significant?  Where every current scene that plays out in your life you spiritually awaken to the idea of God’s guiding presence in a new way; His hand steering you this way and that?

I have had some of those revelatory moments lately.  God is cracking old perceptions I once held of myself and He is pulling me into new areas of trust.  In this area where I am being drawn, I readily admit I don’t know what I am doing.  My human frailty comes to the forefront but God is showing me Him.  He is showing me more of His heart, more of His care, and more of His heavenly abilities to work it all out.

Oh, His ability to do it all has always been there, but there were certain areas of my life where there were still scales on my eyes, shielding me from seeing the bigger picture; from seeing God fully at work in it all.

I was awakened on the inside and became more aware that there is so much more to me than me.  God has me on His radar and He is orchestrating my life in a unique and special way.  No, I don’t have all the answers, nor do I know what tomorrow looks like or how this will all end up, but by faith, I want Him to take the lead while I just step out and follow.

It requires not only a moment of revelation but a life of trust.  Steven Furtick said, “The only way God can show us He is in control is to put us in situations we can’t control,” (Quote Source: Pinterest).

It’s purposely declaring every day and with every step, “I don’t know it all, but I choose to follow the One who does.”  It’s a time when we let that one moment of believing God is the fullness of His promises defines the makeup of our future.  It’s when we permit the wonder of all that He is to overshadow any doubt or discrepancies that we might feel within ourselves, realizing what He has made us for and ordained us to do never depended on us in the first place.

Is there an area of your life where God wants to give you that ah-ha moment of revelation?  Or, are there still scales blocking your full vision of Him?

Father God, remove the scales from our eyes that we might see the full vision of You.  We are praying against every hindrance that tries to blind Your people and obstruct their view from the wonderful works You want to do through them.  Amen!

I pray for your moment of connection with God.  I pray that you would trust in God more, and focus on Him more than whatever you think you can’t do.  It only takes a moment of sincere trust and abandon to Him to change your course in history forever.

“Blessed is the man that trusteth in the LORD, and whose hope the LORD is.” Jeremiah 17:7

“The Beauty of God’s Heart”

 

The beauty of God’s heart is most known to us through those wonderful things that make Him, Him.  Traits and characteristics that stood to defend us when we should have been condemned.

Some portray God in the harshest sense.  With gavel in hand at the least little infraction, we are automatically charged and sentenced.  While God most certainly will judge all unrepentant sin, the beauty of His heart gives chance after chance, offering multiplied times to receive His forgiveness.

Hard, God is not.  We could probably never know how many more times we have experienced His undeserved redemption, grace, and mercy at work in our lives than we did any deserved penalties.

The beauty of God’s heart wants to save, not destroy (2 Peter 3:9).  Thus, He forebears with us and is longsuffering toward us.  That means He’s not in a rush to convict as some suppose (but again, all unrepentant sin will be dealt with).  Rather, His heart seeks to acquit; to exonerate one from guilt through Him, our Lord Jesus Christ, who bore the guilt we should have been marked by.

You see, the beauty of God’s heart is untouched by anything we can imagine.  When we see Him set the spiritual captives free, the beauty of His heart understands that in our human capacity we will never comprehend the true and total cost of what it took to do that.

When we see Him heal we may rejoice in the miracle, but we will never understand with full clarity that there was never supposed to be a need for healing.  The beauty of God’s heart sees the original wholeness that was intended from the beginning and that it’s only through the sadness of sin that this malady of the flesh has entered into the world.  I imagine the beauty of God’s heart holds the simpleness of all that creation was intended to be when He spoke, “It is good,” (Genesis).

I imagine His heart holding everything that is good, and perfect, and lovely, and wonderful.  Walking through the most beautiful field of flowers on the world’s most glorious day surrounded by the greatest peace this world has to offer could not even begin to scratch the surface of what we find in Him.

I imagine the beauty of His heart can be described much like His shining countenance found glowing from that Holy City in the Revelation.  In it, there is brilliance and radiance.  There is mystery, yet there is also a longing for intimacy with His creation.  There is grandeur, but at the same time, it only takes the simplicity of faith to come near Him.

God watches mankind live after and pursue their own plans and purposes each and every day, yet the beauty of His heart holds the cares of each person and each choice we make, wayward or not.

The main thing is the beauty of God’s heart is intimately in touch with His creation; with you and me.  No matter where we go, in flesh or just in thought, His heart knows and is involved.

As mighty, and holy, and sovereign, and omniscient as God is, why is He so mindful of us and our sometimes messy lives?  The answer is because of the beauty of His heart.  For above all, God is love (1 John 4:8) and His heart holds all the love that we can’t even begin to imagine, in the most beautiful sense, pure and undefiled from anything we can know down here, for each and every one of us.

Even when we reach that place in glory we may still not fully comprehend all the beauty His heart holds.  But oh, how wonderful it is to experience it, feel it, and know the beauty of God’s heart holds a special place for me and you.

Father God,

            You are so beautiful to us and toward us.  May we recognize the care You take to hold each one of us in the crevice of Your very being and may that realization cause us to draw nearer to You each and every day.  In the name of Your dear Son, our Lord Jesus Christ, we pray,

                                                                                                                        Amen!

Photo Credit: Pixabay