“Don’t Count People Out!”

umbrella-170962_1920

“Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother,” 2 Thessalonians 3:15

We all have those acquaintances in life that make us constantly shake our heads, and we feel like throwing up our hands in exasperation.  Especially when their behaviors do not line up with our beliefs.  Many of the times one can feel justified in their decision to wash their hands of that relationship and count that person out.  It doesn’t.

I’m so glad God has more patience with us than we have with one another.  In our humanness, we are so quick to give up on what we perceive as a lost cause.  Even members of our own family – oh, they may try us, but we can’t write them off.

When Jesus gave the command for His followers to be witnesses for Him in Acts 1:8, the first place that was mentioned was Jerusalem.  Jerusalem was home base.  Jerusalem was where everything started.  He wanted the people “at home” to have the first shot of this powerful, saving message.  In fact, that’s exactly what happened.  When Peter got up on the Day of Pentecost and preached Jesus Christ to the people “in Jerusalem,” a mighty thing occurred.  Acts 2:37 boldly tells us the message that was preached was their undoing.  It says, “Now when they heard this, they were pricked in their heart, and said unto Peter and to the rest of the apostles, Men and brethren, what shall we do?”

That’s a powerful reversal of opinion by those who in verse 23 were accused in the killing of the Lord Jesus Christ.  Bearing with people is not always the easiest thing to do, especially those closest to you.  You know a lot about them and it is sometimes hard to envision a reversal on their part, but can I tell you something, they are still souls before God.

It is easier for us to “go into all the world,” (Mt. 28:19), then to make disciples out of those closest to us.  Matthew 5:16 says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven.”  You might be the only glimpse of what life in Christ could be for them.  But, if you give up on them and count them out, how will they see?

Your love, patience, and attitude toward another could be their deciding factor.  “Count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother.”  What if God had given up on us?  Rather, Psalm 103:8-10 tells us, “The Lord is merciful and gracious, slow to anger, and plenteous in mercy.  He will not always chide: neither will he keep his anger for ever.  He hath not dealt with us after our sins; nor rewarded us according to our iniquities.”  We deserved the worse, but God saved us and gave us the best.  He did not give up on us!

I can readily admit that before my relationship with Christ I was not all peaches and cream, nor was I sugar and spice and everything nice.  I was a sinner.  My life was not right.  I was not born a Christian, and neither were you.  God has been very patient with me, with us, and we should return that same grace to others.

It may be a work in progress for most of us, but at least it’s in progress. Therefore, we don’t have the right to count others out either.  Our love, compassion, and desire to see them saved should always compel us to “admonish them as a brother.”  People need you today, don’t count them out.  Exhort one another in love.  We need each other so badly to make it through.  Our hearts should yearn to see all saved even when we don’t see it.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

Advertisements

“The Lord is on my Side!”

Oh, the grace of another day.  Yet, every day is not peachy, rather often with it comes turmoil, upset, and unrest.  Sometimes, battling the seen and the unseen.  Sometimes, fighting to keep one’s spiritual head above the waters of this life that seek to take you under.  Oh, the peace to know that despite it all, the Lord is on my side.

If you’ve ever gone to the circus, one of the most impressive feats to witness in the performances there are the trapeze acts.  It never seems to lose its awesomeness as we watch men and women fly through the air with what appears to be a complete disregard for life and limb.  Actually, it is quite the opposite.  They fly through the air with abandon because of the trust they exhibit in their partner to be by their side and to catch them at that pivotal moment; to catch them when it matters most.  There is an awesome relationship of trust that goes on between the two.  One that neither can doubt in lest the outcome be less than desirable.

What about our relationship with God?  Do we exhibit the same trust in Almighty God that these acrobats seem to place in human confidence?  Do we sport the confidence that He is by our side to catch us when we need Him the most?

Sometimes it may feel like you are in the boxing ring alone.  Well, you’re not!  Sometimes it may appear that you are fighting armies that encamp against you by yourself.  You’re not!  God is on our side and He promised to never leave us nor forsake us, Hebrews 13:5.

Daily, we are upheld by Him!  Our lives are not in our own hands rather in the hands of Him that never fails!  We may swing to and fro, sometimes feeling up and sometimes down, yet He is the ever-present strength that keeps us flying high above all these adversities, above all these troubles, above all these trappings of this world.

Difficulties will arise.  Oh yes, they will.  But, Jesus said, “These things I have spoken unto you, that in me ye might have peace. In the world ye shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world,” John 16:33.  In other words, He is on our side.  He is our overcomer.  He is our victor.  He is our deliverer that will see us past all that is presently before us that we might experience the peace that He so offers.

“Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid,” John 14:27.  Some may say this is easier said than done especially when the upsets of life seem to be all around and the strength to carry on, well, it’s just plain hard to find.  You’re exhausted!  I get it.  God gets it.

That’s why His Word declares and reminds every one of us, we don’t have to carry on on our own.  The Lord is on your side.  You are not in this alone.  This is the message of the whole Bible.  No matter how dim, gloomy and bleak it may seem, we are not in this alone.  We have a Strength that is beyond our human capabilities.  We have a Force fighting for us that cannot be reckoned with by human standards.  We have the one and only true God and He is on our side!

Who are you flying with today?  Secure your life in Him, let go and know that “The LORD is on my side,” Psalm 118:6.  Trust Him, He will catch the life that honestly reaches out for Him, trusts, and believes.

Text Free Photo: Pixabay/Pexels

“Your Hearts Shall Live!”

“And you who seek God, your hearts shall live,” Psalm 69:32

How many go through their day complacent in the status quo?  No passion for life.  No zeal for better.  Just run the ordinary course of the ordinary life jogger, following the crowd, content with a heart that’s just beating but not alive.

A heart that is alive thrills at the unknown.  A heart that is alive craves to pump its life source throughout every crevice of its being.  Those who seek for God are not content with just the rhythmic beat of every other man.  Their heart wants to thump against the chest wall to express the life that lives in it through Him.

When one seeks God it stirs up something on the inside of them.  It stirs a wanting of more.  Kind of like a first love.  You seek to be near that person or to simply hear their voice.  When contact is made it makes the heart beat a little faster and you feel alive!  God promises those that look for Him with that same passion your hearts shall live.  Your heart will tell a story all its own about the love that dwells in it for the one you seek.

Jesus said, “I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly,” (John 10:10).  He wants hearts alive; hearts that live for seeking Him more and more.  From that they will reap not the status quo rather an abundance of life that flows from Him.  If the beat of your heart is a little slower these days, or your faith is not getting as excited as it used at the first, check to see who or what you have been seeking after.  It may be that you have been looking for love, acceptance and passion everywhere but the right place.  But, we have this promise, “you who seek God, your hearts shall live!”

“The King to My Rescue!”

knight-1916411_1920

“Save, LORD! May the King answer us when we call,” Psalm 20:9, NKJV

 I am definitely a girly girl, to an extent.  I love the idea of love.  I can bury myself in stories of romance and rescue.  What is a lovelier picture than that of a knight in shining armor coming to the rescue of a damsel in distress?  I’ll tell what a lovelier picture is, when the King himself gets personally involved in the rescue.

As long as we live in this earth days of trouble are never far from any of us.  There will always be an occasion that we need to be rescued, be it mind, body or spirit.  We will never be the end all of every answer to every trouble we face.  There will arise at one point or another a situation or a trial where nothing and no one can help unless the most powerful in the land intercedes on our behalf.

“Save, LORD!” becomes more of a desperate plea than a battle cry.  When adversity has made itself too comfortable in your presence and you don’t know how to rid this awful pest, a plea to the King to answer our most urgent request comes forth from the lips, seeking a life saver to lift us up out of the drowning depths.

Our King is not too high that He cannot hear.  Our King is not so secluded behind palace walls that He doesn’t see the plight of His people.  Our King has granted us an open access policy to be able to reach Him when hard times are weighing us down.  “Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need,” (Hebrews 4:16).  Therefore, we cry out, “Save, LORD! May the King answer us when we call,” (Psalm 20:9).

“In the day of my trouble I will call upon thee: for thou wilt answer me,” (Psalm 86:7).  Over and over again we see the plea.  Over and over again we see the promise.  The King is waiting to hear from you and me.  Stop carrying the trouble alone.  Seek the King’s intervention in your life.

Sometimes a knight in shining armor just won’t do.  You need the King to come to the rescue.  Be blessed.

Photo Credit: Pixabay

“God is For Me!” – Words To Live By

My Project 200-001

“FLY!”

REST!  Is it really a lost commodity among our culture?  In our hurried, never-sitting-still-society-for-fear-of-being-run-over-by-society, you would think it is.  That speaks of physical rest, but what of the rest of one’s soul?  A time where one can enjoy some peace and quiet on the inside instead of always feeling like their world is in turmoil.

I think many of us can really relate to that need of rest.  Sometimes, we wish we could do like Jesus and stand before the storm and say, “Peace, be still,” and literally make every wave of adversity shut its mouth!  I know you want to.  I do, too!  It just becomes too much to deal with at times and the need for space, to breathe, to come out from under all this mess becomes an overwhelming factor.

God bless you if you can’t relate to what I am saying here.  For most of us the challenge of dealing with daily schedules, mess and problems leave us feeling totally surrounded.  As if, no matter what direction we turn there is something there to prevent one from really enjoying that rest.

“And I said, Oh that I had wings like a dove! for then would I fly away, and be at rest,” Psalm 55:6

Oh, but if I had two wings!  I would fly!  The idea of rising above every problem and adverse circumstance is very tantalizing.  Right there I begin to form a mental picture in my mind of me soaring.  Below me is everything that tries to come against me.  All those problems and schedules are trying to reach up and grab hold of me, but it can’t!  I have risen too high for them.  I have learned how to fly above it all!

The problem with that is it is fantasy.  Oh, that it were real.  While we are living on this side of glory we are always going to have something to deal with, but that still doesn’t mean we can’t fly.  Isaiah 40:31 emphatically declares, “They that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles . . .”   God never promised to remove every problem from our lives but, what He did say, is that He will renew the strength of those who turn to Him in the midst of it all.

God is strong in power and there is none like Him, Isaiah 40:25-26.  We recognize today, that though I may not have suddenly sprouted two wings coming out of my back when I rely on His power, it is as if I am already soaring!  And, that my friends, is real rest!  It is confidence that fills the heart and lets me know that I don’t have to feel beaten down and worn out.  God’s got this!  He sees what I am going through.  Psalms 5:11-12 says, “Let all those that put their trust in thee rejoice: let them ever shout for joy, because thou defendest them: let them also that love thy name be joyful in thee.  For thou, Lord, wilt bless the righteous; with favour wilt thou compass him as with a shield.”  I may not have two physical wings on the outside, but on the inside, I’m flying higher than it all.  Why?  Because though it may seem at times that I am totally surrounded, I serve the Lord God Almighty who is able to “compass” me “as with a shield.”  Therefore, today, I can fly!

Photo: Pixabay/efes

“Take A Stand Against Fear!”

 

Photo: Pixabay/geralt

“. . .And so will I go in unto the king, which is not according to the law:
and if I perish, I perish,” Esther 4:16, KJV

There are a lot of things that act like blockades in our lives, but fear by far has to be one of the hardest to overcome. Fear can render useless the one who entertains it because unlike physical limitations, fear messes with the mind. It changes one’s perspective on how they view the world, the people around them and their own lives.

Fear acts like a photographer. It snaps a picture and develops it in the dark recesses of your mind. When the picture is finished being developed it comes out for you to view a new reality, whether it’s true or not. Fear is not based on truth but it wants you to believe in the image it presents to you more than God. That’s why many of us will never tread the courts of the king as Esther did. We can become so focused on that false image (the things that we see that make us afraid) that we fail to step out with courage.

The Bible tells us, “Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen,” (Heb. 11:1, KJV). Going against fear takes faith. Faith doesn’t concentrate on what is visible to the naked eye. Faith concentrates on the truth of God’s promises. And His promises declare, “Fear thou not; for I am with thee: be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness,” (Is. 41:10, KJV).

That’s what faith sees!

With Queen Esther’s physical eyes the picture she saw wasn’t pleasant. What she saw was her beloved uncle Mordecai’s life was in danger, (Esther 5:14). What she saw was hatred and an evil desire for her people to be destroyed, (Esther 3:8-9). What she saw was the anguish of her people, grieving her also, (Esther 4:3-4). What she saw was a law that could take her life, (Esther 4:11).

A decision had to be made. Esther could look at the circumstances and let the fear of those images stop her from doing what’s right. Or, she could take a stand against the fear that assailed her and go for it, debunking that old image to see something new.

With great resolve and commitment she said, “If I perish, I perish.” She took a stand against the fearful, stepping out into the unknown, not sure if she would find favor with the king. Her people needed her to be brave. Her uncle needed her to be unbending in her determination. She needed to step up to the plate “for such a time as this,” (Esther 4:14, KJV).

In what area of your life do you need more courage? Is there something you are dealing with that is extremely hard, yet you want to be determined to see it through? It takes a resolve such as Queen Esther possessed to stand against the fear of what you see so that you too can walk the King’s court in victory!

“You have been upheld since birth!”

My Project 445-001

“By You I have been upheld from birth; You are He who took me out of my mother’s womb. My praise shall be continually of You,” Psalm 71:6, NKJV

As you look back over your life, is there ever a time when you know you should not have made it?  Is there a time when you recognize that it was only by the grace of God that you are still here today?

Yeah, me too!

Life has a way of throwing us many curve balls.  Sometimes we hit it and sometimes we miss.  Sometimes we are even awesome enough to get a home run, whereas at other times we would just be grateful to still be in the game.  The fact that we are, is a testimony to the love of the Father on us.  It is evident that He still has you and me in His hands and in His plan.

There are times that come that make it extremely hard for us to recognize this great truth.  Crushing times that weigh on us making us believe that we are forgotten or that we are walking this path alone.  Nothing could be further from the truth.  God has always been with us.  God has always taken care of us.  God has always been the one holding on to us when our lives seem to be spinning out of control.

I find it utterly amazing that we have been upheld since birth.  Truth be told, Psalm 139:16 shows us that He was paying attention to us even before the time of our birth.  It says, “Your eyes have seen my unformed substance; And in Your book were all written the days that were ordained for me, When as yet there was not one of them,” (NASB).  Even before day 1 of our lives, God had His eye on us.

How awesome is that?  I find great comfort in verses like these because I realize that yes; I have gone through some very difficult and troubling times.  Yes, as I look back through the different stages of life I wish things could have been better or I wish wrong choices could be undone.  But, despite all the “I wish I had…” or the “could have and should have,” these verses remind me that I never walked alone.  There was never a time in my life that God didn’t see me and didn’t see what I was going through.  There was never a time when He was absent.  He was there the whole time reaching out for me and calling me with His love, beckoning me to stay in the safety of His arms and rest there.

God’s hands have always been us!

I don’t know what you may be facing today but the Word of God is sure in all it promises and His Word promises that you are not alone.  Yet, sometimes it does seem that way.  It seems like you cry and cry and cry some more, but I assure you, your tears do not fall on deaf ears.  As you cry, the one who has had His hands on you since birth feels the flow of your tears running over His hands as He holds you.  Stay right there in His loving embrace.

If you have to, turn back to Him and trust Him who has you in His hands today and wants to hold you forever.

“Today, I Want to Be Me!”

 

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

Oh, the creative power that took place for you to be here today.  From the moment of conception, and from the time cells began to divide within themselves, you were and are a product of beautiful design.  Uniquely you, you are made just the way God intended.  And, since we know that He doesn’t make any mistakes, whatever we view as shortcomings in our lives may be there for a much higher purpose.  Our so-called defaults are part of the plan that God has laid out in your life.

What would happen if every Christian really armed themselves with this beautiful truth?  How would that personally make us feel?  How would it affect the way we live, the way we walk and talk?  More importantly, how would it affect the way we move in our Christian walk?  How much more would we be apt to express our faith knowing the value He places in each and every one of us?

I believe if Christians really got a hold of this truth they would turn the world upside down.  They would step out with a newfound faith knowing that they are something really special before God; knowing that their worth is not in how the world sees them; rather, how God sees them.  What does He think about me?

Let me tell you what He thinks about you. Jesus said in Luke 12:6-7, “Are not five sparrows sold for two farthings, and not one of them is forgotten before God?  But even the very hairs of your head are all numbered.  Fear not therefore: ye are of more value than many sparrows.”  “Ye are of more value!”  Humanity is the apex of all His creation.  He made sure everything that was created was put in proper place and proper order for us.  We are the only part of creation where God claimed Himself, “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion . . .” (Gen. 1:26).  Not only created, but we created in “His image.”  Not only in “His image,” but we are also created to have “dominion;” authority over all the earth including the thoughts that come to make us feel less than anything He said of me!

Today, I want to be me.  I want to walk like I walk.  Express me like only I can.  I want to relish in the wonderful thought that when no one else is taking notice of me, He is.  Because He designed me this way and I know the care that went into this design, I can rest and enjoy me.  I can love me some me.  Even when it seems no one else does, I can love me because He loves me.

If He says I’m good just like this then all I have to do is learn to work in what He gave me and just be me.  “Marvelous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.”  Does your soul know that you are a marvelous work of God?  Can you believe that today so that you can just enjoy being you?  You are so incredibly special.  Let no one rob you of the precious way that God sees you.

“Know ye that the Lord He is God: it is He that hath made us and not we ourselves. . .” (Ps. 100:3).  I’m so glad I didn’t do this myself.  As they would say in social media circles: “LOL (Laugh Out Loud)!”  It is a laughable notion because there is so much that goes into this that we will never figure it out.  Then again, I don’t have to because He already did.  He stepped back and looked at creation and said, “It was very good,” (Gen.1:31).

I am good!  From the time that He has “covered me in my mother’s womb,” (Ps. 139:13), I am just the way He wants me to be.  So, today, I can be me!  Now, that’s something to 🙂 about!

“Be Fruitful”

“And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth
his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth
shall prosper,” Psalm 1:3, KJV

I believe right there the trees stop and laugh at us. Whether it is planted in the inner city or deep in the countryside, as long as it has soil, water and sunshine it will grow. The tree doesn’t look for excuses for why it can’t do what it was purposed to do. It just does it. It grows and bears fruit.

We have to learn to be abundant where we are planted. Take inventory of where you are right now. What is there that can be done by you? What gap can you fill? What soul can you reach out to? What aspect of ministry can you lend your talents to? Don’t always look at the big stuff; there are little tidbits of things that can be done by each of us. There are small ways to minister (serve) that God can put to good use to cause increase in His kingdom.

Psalm 1:1-2 speaks of the choice of the individual to do right. “Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful. But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in His law doth he meditate day and night,” (KJV). Now it’s time to walk in the fruitfulness of vs.3, “And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper,” (KJV).

So, if you have already made the same choice and are now planted, it’s time to let some fruit grow. Nobody will know anything about you unless you start growing fruit; until you start producing something. An apple tree is not an apple tree if it does not produce apples. Matthew 12:33 declares, “. . . for the tree is known by his fruit,” (KJV).

Today, I urge you to make a proclamation to yourself and say, “Self, today, right where I am planted, I will produce!” Do you not know that God will honor that? The Word of God emphatically says, “If ye have faith as a grain of mustard seed,” (Matthew 17:20, KJV). God doesn’t need you to try to grab hold of the biggest thing in ministry there is. But, if your heart is sincere and your faith is genuine, He will honor the fruitfulness of every little step you take.

Don’t let intimidation stop you from being effective for the Kingdom of God. If all I have is a small measure to work with then, I’m going to work that small measure until I see the increase. So, I declare that, “Today, right where I am planted, I will be fruitful!