It’s All About Jesus!

It’s All About Jesus!

You show that you are a letter from Christ, the result of our ministry, written not with ink but with the Spirit of the living God, not on tablets of stone but on tablets of human hearts. Such confidence we have through Christ before God. Not that we are competent in ourselves to claim anything for ourselves, but our competence comes from God. He has made us competent as ministers of a new covenant—not of the letter but of the Spirit; for the letter kills, but the Spirit gives life. 2 Corinthians 3:3-6 NIV

How are we representing who we say we serve? Do our lives depict who we say we are or must we always have to tell others who we are–so they’ll know?

There is a quote out there, can’t remember who said it first and that’s not important as long as I’m not trying to take credit for it, but it goes like this:  “The best sermon is the one lived, not preached.” And I have known that to be true based upon the people I’ve met.

There are two instances in particular that come to mind. The first was a woman I met when she was applying for an apartment a non-profit owned. I was accepting the applications. For whatever reason, she thought it was important to try to impress upon how “religious” she was. I was not impressed and a few months later, realized my first thoughts about her were accurate. She was negligent in paying her rent, condoned the destruction of another apartment, and eventually was sought by police for writing bad checks. But she was in church at least four nights a week.

The second instance was more recent. During a meeting, a newly hired band director introduced himself and one of the first things out of his mouth was, “I’m a God-fearing man.” Warning bells immediately went off in my head and later when I had a chance to talk to him, I made the following comment to him.

“I heard what you said about being a God-fearing man and I immediately told Holy Spirit to show me who you really are.”

He was given contact information for me and the president of the organization and was supposed to call us the next day to solidify plans for the coming school year. Neither of us have heard from him and that was over two weeks ago. So much for his proclamation.

On the other hand, I’ve been complimented a number of times by people who do not know me and have only read my comments on various media threads. I tend to comment a lot on articles produced by various media–both nationally and locally–but I seldom tell anyone anything about me. My comments have been about the articles and my responses–even when attacked by those who are filled with hatred–have always tempered by Holy Spirit. One woman told me how much she appreciated my open-mindedness and calm in responding to people who attacked me.

Another person, just recently complimented me on being a “light” to the masses even though we’re on the opposite sides of the fence–politically. His last words in that thread were, “Stay Classy.” Not once did I mention being a born-again, ordained minister of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. Not once did I mention bible or God, yet people recognized who I was.

My point here is this–we don’t need to “say” a whole lot about who we are, we just need to live–being the open letter read by all who interact with us–so they will know, through us, it’s all about Jesus.

How do we do that? We promote love–not hate or fear-mongering. We demonstrate understanding of forgiveness and mercy and grace. We listen to what others have to say and think before we speak, knowing we may never get another chance to make our case. We respect every member of the human race as God’s creation and we don’t take on a role of superiority over another. Even in disagreement, we know how to disagree, agreeably. Our ultimate goal should be to introduce others to Jesus by being a light, directing their paths by how we interact with them.

I thank God for using me in commenting on these media threads because it gives me opportunity for others to see how a meaningful life in Jesus manifests itself. I’m thankful that He is constantly working on my character so it is Him who shines through.

If we live like we belong to Jesus, everyone will know and we won’t have to say a word, and we should because the lives we live should be–all about Jesus!

Practicing Contentment In The Midst of Need!

“I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do all this through him who gives me strength.” (Philippians 4:12,13 NIV)

In this letter to the church at Philippi, Paul encourages those who are trying do what is right for all concerned. In the midst of their own challenges, they sought to provide him with those things he needed while he was imprisoned. Remember this, when people were imprisoned in those days, they were dependent upon others for food since their jailers were not necessarily interested in attending their needs. But Paul, understanding their own plight and needs, encourages them by telling them how he’s learned to be content in whatever situation he’s found himself because of Jesus.

Whenever we find ourselves in situations that cause us to cringe and perhaps re-think what we’re doing because everything is not coming together we way we expected it to  come together, pause and think about others who are in situations worse than ours and be grateful for what we have.

With every negative event occurring in America right now and the exposure of corruption at every level of government and —we can still exercise our right to vote by getting our feet moving in the right direction without fear of being persecuted for daring to vote.

Though some criticize Believers for their faith in God, we still have the right to worship Him, whenever we want to do so.

Even though there are hundreds of people starving everyday–in America–most of us still exercise “choice” in what we eat and how often we eat.

In spite of the “oversight” of government through surveillance at every corner, it’s all for our good.

Though we may not have the car of our dreams, if we’re driving anything that moves, we should be content.

If children are not wearing the most expensive gym shoes or the latest designer clothes, if they have clothes on their back and shoes on their feet that protect them from the elements, they should be content.

If we have not arrived at the place of success we desire, we learn to be content with what we have and in His strength, keep moving forward, keeping our eyes on the prize.

When life does not provide us with all we want, we should practice contentment and joy in the strength of the Lord so when we continue our journey, we are ready for all we will receive.

If we are bitter through the times of lack, we’ll not be better when we have more than enough; we’ll just grumble over not having more.

With whatever we have–we should learn to be content–still looking to Jesus, expecting His best in our lives–and praising Him while we wait. As long as we’re alive, breathing on our own, we yet have opportunity to do good–for others and teach them by example how to wait to see the promises of God.

Instead of crying the blues over everything that doesn’t go our way and being bitter, let’s be better and sing songs of praise, seeking His wisdom, assuring ourselves that we will have a great day, every day!

Look For Opportunity To Do Good!

“Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good to all people, especially to those who belong to the family of believers.” (Galatians 6:10 NIV)

How often do we have an opportunity to do good? As often as we wake up, we have opportunity to do good–even if it is something as simple as smiling and offering an encouraging word to someone else.

Therefore, let’s look for opportunity to do good–always, for all people, but especially for those of the household of faith–those followers of Jesus Christ who will not back down from standing firm on God’s Word.

We can encourage our children.

We can encourage our spouses.

We can encourage our neighbors.

We can watch out for our senior citizens and make sure no one is taking advantage of them or we can do some of those things they have difficulty doing–yard work, driving, shopping, etc.

We can get involved as a volunteer in our school districts, our churches, our communities–doing whatever we can do to help make life a little easier for someone else.

Sometimes, a phone call is all that is necessary to let someone know we are thinking about them, care about them and to see if they need anything.

I’m not saying that Believers should be doormats or used indiscriminately. We should always be wise as a serpent, but gentle as a dove, doing all things to please God, not us or to impress people.

Whenever we question our own motives for the things we do, we should ask ourselves, “Would this please God or do I have a hidden agenda?” We need to be honest with ourselves. If love is not our motive for doing the things we do, we should not do them.

When we know what we do pleases God, it becomes easier to do and we keep looking for opportunities to do good.

What God Reveals By His Spirit!

“However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him—these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God.” (I Corinthians 2:9,10 NIV)

When we run into people who say our faith in God is pointless, what do we do? Do we argue to no avail or do we simply stand firm on The Word?

When they say there is no God, we don’t have to argue the point, but remember this passage of Scripture. For those who say our existence is all about science, they have forgotten that God speaks to the heart of all who listen and even some of the scientists admit they don’t have an explanation for everything. Now, here’s the beauty of what some of them have come to realize–science does not create–it attempts to explain that which already exists and in some instances–scientists will develop something from that which already existed. Development is not creation. This is not to undermine what scientists do, but to point out that the scientists would have nothing to develop if God had not already created–all that was created.

Have we seen all of God’s Wisdom implemented in the earth? No, not yet. Will we ever? That depends upon us and how well we listen when He speaks. The deeper things this passage references have not been seen or heard of, but are yet to come.

Out of this passage of scripture, we get two things–hope and encouragement. No matter how bad things may appear, we haven’t seen the end of the matter because God is yet speaking, by His Spirit, to all who will hear. We are encouraged by The Word, knowing that there are still things we have not even thought about that will come to pass on our behalf. God knows what we need and He knows our heart’s desires. When we please Him, He responds by giving us the desires of our hearts.

Though it may not look like He is listening, He hears. Though it may not look like He is working on our behalf, He is. Remember this, we have not heard or seen all of the good things He has in store for us, but they will come and when we see them and hear them, we’ll know–it was all Him.

Don’t despair over what the naysayers have to say and don’t listen to the voices of those spirits who despise Him. Our God is awesome and He is more than enough! When He speaks to others by His Spirit, things begin to change for our good!

Acknowledge The Work!

“Now we ask you, brothers and sisters, to acknowledge those who work hard among you, who care for you in the Lord and who admonish you.Hold them in the highest regard in love because of their work. Live in peace with each other.” (I Thessalonians 5: 12,13 NIV)

Many of us have often felt that the work we do in promoting the Gospel, encouraging others to live for the Lord, and warning and admonishing others when we see them out of the Will of God is a waste of time. We are criticized by unbelievers, isolated by some Believers who don’t want to live right, and ostracized if we dare to speak God’s Truth (not our own) and called hatemongers and belittled for our faith.

No one ever said that being a Believer would be easy–at least I hope they didn’t. It is not easy, but it is rewarding. Once we make a decision to truly live for the Lord, we find out who our friends really are. If we say what God says and live the way God wants us to say, many of those who proclaimed to be friends are convicted by our lifestyles and when we speak truth according to God’s Word. They think we are belittling them when all we are trying to do is to encourage them to be in position to receive God’s best.

None of us are perfect and until the end comes (however it comes) we won’t reach perfection. That truth does not mean we cannot continue to strive for perfection in our personal lives and certainly as an example for those we love. How can we say we love others if we don’t warn them when they’re headed in the wrong direction? This is what the “fair-weather Christians” don’t understand. They are Christians when it is convenient or expedient as a status that uplifts them, but they either don’t know what God said or don’t want to know because admitting knowledge means they should change their course. These Christians only believe what they want to believe, when they want to believe and will go along-to-get-along as long as it makes them feel good about themselves.

That’s the problem with most of society–the doing anything that makes them feel good. True Believers do what must be done–encouraging and correcting, and most of the time, what we do, doesn’t feel good, but we act out of out obedience to Him who saved us, not those who scorn us.

Those on the outside of His love have no idea what life is like when on the inside of His love. We are His children and with Him, we can accomplish all things, to His glory!

For those who are as determined as I am to do what God puts on our hearts to do, know you are not alone and the reward that He has for us is greater than anything we could receive from people who don’t know Him. Stay focused, determined and convinced of His love and His protection from all evil, doing all He has spoken to you. God loves you and only wants the best for you and all of our confidence should be in Him, not man (or woman) who has neither hell or heaven for us.

Let’s continue to love and obey so peace will reign in our lives!

Comforted To Comfort!

“Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of compassion and the God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our troubles, so that we can comfort those in any trouble with the comfort we ourselves receive from God.” (2 Corinthians 1:3,4 NIV)

In the midst of being persecuted and treated badly, Paul writes to the Church at Corinth, praising God for being the God of all comfort, for comforting those in chains with him, so they could comfort others in times of trouble!

The best way to “wait on The Lord to learn patience” is to take our focus off our own problems and concentrate on others who are going through trials. If we cannot see the solution to our problems, we should help others and while we’re helping others, God reveals the solution to those problems we face and sometimes, He works it out and we simply see the problem solved. Glory Hallelujah!

There have been so many times in years past that I did not know what to do about situations that arose because of car accidents and mountains of bills piling up. I’ve been rear-ended twice and both accidents totaled cars, but I am yet alive to testify of God’s goodness. The first accident was caused by a sleeping driver and the second accident caused by a drunk driver. I was “in front of them” and they crashed into me from behind. I saw them coming–both times, but had nowhere to go before being hit. Waiting for resolution–in particular behind the last accident–I was in pain, could not see well and could not work. The first attorney supposedly working on my behalf was only interested in amassing as much as he could. I fired him. The second attorney resolved the issue as quickly as he could and warned me that I did not have to take what was offered in a settlement, but it would take years to get what I deserved. This was three years after the accident. I realistically could not wait years, trying to get more, so I settled.

In the three years I waited, I did not work, but God had a plan I knew nothing about. He arranged for my bills to be paid through the kindness of others, who wanted nothing in return. During this time, I encouraged others by helping them do whatever I could. Sometimes, that was simply being available to talk to them over the phone. I assisted children by tutoring them, I did whatever I could to help others because I could not help myself through this ordeal. But God could.

While we’re going through–take heart and be encouraged–help someone else in their time of need and watch God handle your business like no one else can! He is a comfort to us so we can comfort others!

The Path of Life!

“You make known to me the path of life; you will fill me with joy in your presence, with eternal pleasures at your right hand.” (Psalm 16:11 NIV)

Only God can set our feet

Upon the path to His victory

Planned before our birth

Determined success upon the earth

For all who believe and obey

Every Word God spoke

To hearts He provoked

To write and proclaim

His goodness, praise His name!

The path of life that God has determined for all who love and obey, may have obstacles and challenges, but if we stay on the path, He has already determined how we shall overcome any obstacle that appears in our lives. We just have to believe and keep our feet on the path, never straying or led astray by fleshly desires to deceiving us, delighting in our failures and demise, when to listen to Satan’s lies.

We shall reap the bountiful rewards God has planned for us when we keep our focus on Him, and accomplish all that He has put on hearts to do, to His glory.

Leaning on His every Word, determined to make it to the end as He has planned, trusting and obeying, loving and moving in victory in spite of every snare set before us, crossing the finish line victorious in all things–this is the path of life!

He Will Do It!

“The LORD rescues the godly; he is their fortress in times of trouble.The LORD helps them, rescuing them from the wicked. He saves them, and they find shelter in him.” (Psalm 37:39,40 NLT)

We are instructed in The Word to pray for one another, believe we receive that for which we have asked, and to give thanks for all things.

Father,

We seek You, the only Wise God, for understanding and deliverance from all things that are not of You.

We know You love us and want only the best for us, but we also know You desire a deeper relationship with each of us.

We come before You today, recognizing our shortcomings and expecting great things from You as we submit our thought life to You.

Look upon our hearts and cleanse us now from any thoughts of living in opposition to You.

Keep our minds focused on You and all those things You would have us do, helping and loving others.

Forgive us for being arrogant and pompous in thinking we can live our lives without You or Your direction.

Guide us daily into Your Word and give us clear understanding.

Help us to be bold enough to say what You say about all things–especially those things that oppose You and Your intent for all mankind.

Help us to receive the healing for our bodies–from the crowns of our heads to the soles of our feet and every muscle, tendon, nerve and organ in between.

Keep our angels alert and mindful of all dangers we can see and those we cannot see.

Touch the hearts of all people who know You–and those who don’t–who teach, preach, lead, and guide others. Let everything we do, glorify You and not us.

Help us to understand the gifts You have given and lead us in refining, exercising them for the benefit of all people.

Develop in us O, Lord–a desire to please You in all things so we may spend eternity with You.

Show us–how to promote goodness and godliness in all things and then dissolve all religious thinking that allows us think that anyone is superior to another.

Have mercy on all who have taken lives because of religious superiority and show them the way of Truth in You.

Provide us with clear vision and understanding as to how we can fulfill the dreams already given, to Your glory.

Encourage our hearts in the midst of all the chaos and surround us with peace within and without our homes, community, and nations.

Thank You for loving us and providing all we need so we can be a blessing to others.

Thank You hearing and responding to this prayer so all may that You and You alone are God and there is none like You, who will do it!

In Jesus’ name, we pray and receive all we believe You will do.

Amen!

They Tell Lies!

This is what the LORD of Heaven’s Armies, the God of Israel, says: “Do not let your prophets and fortune-tellers who are with you in the land of Babylon trick you. Do not listen to their dreams, because they are telling you lies in my name. I have not sent them,” says the LORD.(Jeremiah 29:8,9 NLT)

Who was Jeremiah talking to then and does it apply, today?

Jeremiah, God’s chosen prophet, was talking to the children of Israel who had been taken captive by their enemies. He was warning them and encouraging them as we can see if we continue reading this chapter. If we really think about current events and all those who “falsely” prophesy anything, we can most assuredly say, what was said then, applies now.

While I know there are many people who believe in fortune-tellers, astrological charts, luck and the counterfeit prophets, I stand firmly in the wisdom of God–knowing that “luck” has nothing to do with God. We are warned to stay away from fortune-tellers because many simply manipulate others with false hope (as seen in ACTS). Those who profess to “read tea leaves” play on the vulnerabilities of those who are seeking answers, but from the wrong person. And the counterfeit prophets–there are so many out there I cannot begin to count. Wise people know better than to believe in “a horoscope” that seldom changes and is usually written by people on a whim, who have no knowledge of astrology, but consider themselves expert in reading the stars and making predictions.

Now, I will be the first to admit that when God gives people gifts (as outlined in 1 Corinthians 12), He does not take them back, even when we do foolish things with them. And some are doing foolish things with the gifts God intended to be used by the Body of Christ, for carnal profit. Even though the gift remains theirs, so too is the reward they will receive for misusing His gifts.

Those who try to make themselves something when they are not, lie! The fortune-tellers lie; the false prophets lie, the horoscopes lie, the tea-readers lie and anyone who claims “good or bad luck” lies because there is no “luck” with God. We are either blessed or cursed.

How do we recognize the liars? Easily! When we know The Word, we can spot a liar about The Word because what they say, won’t align with The Word. Now, some are clever! They will use just enough of The Word to make some believe they know what they’re talking about, but it is deception–cleverly devised to deceive and know it is from the devil--that master of deception.

Don’t believe the hype when “prophets” tell you things that God has not spoken to your heart. If you have a heart to hear God, He’ll speak to you and confirm through others who don’t even know you. Those prophets chosen by God speak truth whether it is warning or encouragement and what they say, aligns with The Word.

Don’t believe the “horoscopes” like some have and become so addicted to them, they won’t leave home without reading them. Read The Word–therein lies the truth! Horoscopes are mass-produced with slight changes–designed to convince and they are so vague and general, what is said could apply to anyone, born at any time.

Don’t believe the “tea-readers” who can fool only the foolish who believe that tea leaves forming a certain pattern in liquid means anything.

Believe The Word–because God is not a man that He should lie and since He hates liars–He will not oppose Himself who is Truth.

Got problems and need answers? Seek Him early while He may be found and know the Truth. The others–tell lies!

Smooth Path Ahead!

“But for those who are righteous, the way is not steep and rough. You are a God who does what is right, and you smooth out the path ahead of them” (Isaiah 26:7 NLT).

Trying to do what is right all the time can sometimes be a challenge for most of us. We’re humans–subject to err and as such–subject to do really dumb things. While the things we do may be dumb, they don’t have to be wrong. We must endeavor at all times to stay in right standing with God–not because we’re so good, but because He is.

Many people often confuse being in right standing with God (righteous) as being “self-righteous” and miss the mark when others are completely turned off by their attitudes. We have no righteousness we can claim of our own–the only righteousness we have is His and it is because of Him that we can–when in right relationship with Him–be in right standing with Him, because of Him–not us.

So why bother to do right? When we do the right thing for the right reasons, our journey through life–is not “steep or rough” (no mountains to overcome) and He smooths our path ahead of us so we won’t trip and fall over any obstacles the enemy may put in our way. That’s our loving Father, always looking out for us–making sure we can make it to our destiny–fulfilling the plans He has made for us–to prosper, be in good health, and in promoting the Gospel! Hallelujah to our Risen King and Loving Father!

When the way gets tough (not of your own doing), don’t despair–the way gets smoother just ahead–believe and achieve it to His glory and don’t you dare try taking another path that He has not prepared for you! (Hmmm. Maybe the rocky paths we experience are because we are not on the paths He set before us).

Contemplate deeply about the path you’re travelling and know with certainty that if the path has been rocky, you’re on the wrong path. Allow Him to guide you to the path He has smoothed and removed anything that is not of Him!

As always, I welcome your comments and pray that you are indeed on the right path–the one He chose for you!