Friday, 29 July 2016

Show Your Love Dear Christian

2 John 1:6
'...He has commanded us to love one another...'

Because love is the very essence and nature of God, it makes sense that Jesus commanded us to love one another as He loved us. It's when we love one another that we are most like Jesus.

Paul spoke about this kind of love in 1 Corinthians 13:3, 'And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it profits me nothing.' Wow, now that's a strong statement!

It does not matter how many gifts of the Spirit you may have operating in your life, or how 'anointed' you think you are, if you don't have love it's all in vain. Now here's the thing about love: It can not be learned or practiced in isolation.

We have to get around people and put in the time to build relationships with them, no matter how irritating, demanding, imperfect, or frustrating they are. We have to love them regardless; this is the way of the Lord.

Sometimes we think we don't have the time to invest into others because we're just so busy. But hear the words of the Lord Jesus. ' Jesus said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.’ This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like it: ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ On these two commandments hang all the Law and the Prophets,” Matthew 22:37-40.

As you can see, Jesus summarized what matters the most in those two commandments; love God and love people. It's relationships not things that matter most in life. When we die all that we take with us to heaven is our good works motivated love.

Mother Teresa said, 'It's not what you do, but how much love you put into it that matters,' amen! In our modern world it's all to easy to get distracted with making a living, paying bills, and chasing goals.

Nothing wrong with doing all that, but not at the expense of building loving relationships with others. Are you in a wonderful career? Great, you've got you own mission field right at work with plenty of people to love into His Kingdom!

My final thought is this: Love is the secret of a great legacy, your legacy. Don't short change yourself by neglecting to give away copious amounts of God's (agape) love.

Have a blessed dayPaul
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Thursday, 28 July 2016

You Need Faith To Transform

Hebrews 11:1
'Faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.'

Unless you're hoping for something you don't need faith. Hope is what establishes your goal, and faith is the bridge that gets you to it. The moment that we're born again we're given a specific hope, and we move towards it by faith.

Even before you were born God new you and had already worked out a plan for your life. Jeremiah 1:5 says, 'Before I formed you in the womb I knew you; Before you were born I sanctified you; I appointed you as a prophet to the nations.” Can you see how with just this one scripture God gives Jeremiah a specific hope (vision)? Now all that he has to do is mix his faith to it (which he did) in order to see that hope materialize.

The end result for Jeremiah's hope was that he became a well known prophet in Israel serving God all his days. Jeremiah applied faith to his God-given hope and became what God had already predetermined, Glory to God!

Well dear reader, it's the same for you and me. God has a plan for you; a plan to give you a future and a specific hope (vision). Romans 8:29 says, 'For whom He foreknew, He also predestined to be conformed to the image of His Son, that He might be the firstborn among many brethren.'

What's our highest hope? It is to be conformed to the image of Jesus; what a honor this is! God Himself has predestined you and I to be like His Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. Yes there are specific callings for each and everyone of us, but our highest hope (vision) is to be like Him.

Now this where some believers become somewhat 'gob smacked' and feel that they're just not good enough to be like Jesus. I can understand this well because I thought that way about myself for years. However, the more I got to know the Lord through His word the more I began to believe.

My faith was growing, and that's the key; in and of myself I'm nothing, but in Christ I'm a new creature with living faith on the inside. Our chief goal in this life is to be transformed into the image of Jesus Christ, and this is only achieved by faith. Hebrews 10:38 says, 'Now the just shall live by faith...'  

If you don't 'feel' like you'll ever be like Him, take heart because it's God's plan for you to be transformed into His image. God will do the work inside you, but you've got to have faith; you've got to stand on His word; you've got to believe the promises; you've got to live it by faith.

Don't feel like you've got enough faith? The bible says, 'Faith comes by hearing and hearing by the word of God,' Romans 10:17. Get into the word; ponder over the promises; speak the scriptures out loud. Faith is not an emotion, it's a decision to stand on God's word.

So then our highest hope (vision) in this life is to be become just like Jesus; to be transformed into His image by faith. Embrace this hope today and rejoice that God will complete this awesome work in you.
'Being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ...' Philippians 1:6

Have a blessed day
Paul
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Wednesday, 27 July 2016

Knowing God's Voice

John 10:4
'And when he brings out his own sheep, he goes before them; and the sheep follow him, for they know his voice.'

What am I going to do with my life? Who should I  marry? Should I take this new Job offer? Is God calling me into the mission field? These are just some of the many life altering questions that face Christians at one time or another.

Not only are we faced with life altering choices but we are also faced with the everyday choices that life tends to throw at us. People of the world often seek horoscopes, psychics, councelors, or simply go by their 'gut feeling for answers,' but these kinds of methods are not for the believer in Christ!

The Christian is expected to go to God and listen for His voice; the Christian is expected to wait on the Lord for direction. It all comes down to knowing God's voice. John 10:4 clearly teaches us that we can know His voice if we belong to Jesus. (Those who have been saved by grace through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ)

So how can we recognize the voice of God?

Although God can and does, speak to His people in an audible voice, He speaks primarily through His written word, the Bible. Therefore, it behooves the believer to read, study and quietly contemplate the word. The more time we spend pondering over God's word, the easier it will become to recognize His voice and His leading.

Whenever you're seeking to know God's will on a matter, ask Him to reveal His will to you through His word, then simply get busy spending time in His word. Note: If God speaks to you through a prophecy, an inner witness, audible voice, dream, or an open vision, it will always line up with scripture.

This is how hearing God's voice works: When you're reading the word and your heart warms to a particular scripture, stop for a moment and ponder that scripture; don't continue reading because you could miss what God is trying to reveal to you.

When the two disciples were walking along the road to Emmaus, Jesus drew near to them and walked and talked to them, however, they did not recognize Him at that moment. A little later while sitting down at the dinner table, Jesus revealed Himself to them and then immediately disappeared from their sight. 

What's interesting about this story is what the two disciples said after He disappeared: “...Did not our heart burn within us while He talked with us on the road, and while He opened the Scriptures to us?” Luke 24:32. Jesus still talks to His people the same way today; Praise the Lord!

My thought for you today dear reader is this: Learn to listen to the Shepherd's voice while reading His word; He will warm your heart as He speaks and opens scripture up to you. You will learn to discern the Lord's voice, receive direction, and get vision for your life if you spend time in His word.

Have a blessed dayPaul
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Tuesday, 26 July 2016

Find a Mentor-Become a Mentor (Christianity)

John 14:12
"Most assuredly, I say to you, he who believes in Me, the works that I do he will do also; and greater works than these he will do, because I go to My Father."

Jesus gave His followers an absolutely profound promise that we would do the same works as He did and even greater works! Wow, who would have thought God would entrust such things to earthen vessels such as ourselves? Yet He did!

Just like the twelve disciples were mentored by Jesus while He was on the earth, we also have Jesus to mentor us through other believers.

If you want to reach your God-given potential, ask God for the right mentor; trust Him to bring people into your life for your good. Don't try to reach your God-given potential on your own, you will always go much further with the right mentor in your life; a mentor who has your best interest at heart; a mentor will become your coach and gently push you in the right direction.

Are you a new believer? Make sure you are getting mentored by seasoned Christians. Are you a seasoned Christian? Be willing to be a mentor to newer Christians. Yes Jesus is the Chief mentor but He wants to use His people; He wants to work through us.

So what are we to look for in a good mentor? Here's a short list of qualities to consider:

1) Is the mentor willing to spend time with the learner in order to build a close relationship with them?

2) Is the mentor willing to commit to seeing the potential in the learner and to constantly affirm them?

3) Is the mentor willing to be honest yet affirming when confronting the learner's faults, failings, and immaturity?

4) Is the mentor willing to stand with the learner through trials, even if they are self-inflicted through ignorance and error?

4) Is the mentor willing to be open and transparent about their own failings and short-comings?

5) Above all, is the mentor committed to faithfully living by everything he/she teaches?

If you're a seasoned Christian, these are the qualities you should already have within you before considering being a mentor for someone else. If you're a new believer, and you're trusting God to put some good mentors into your life, and He will, then rest assured that they will have these qualities. They won't be perfect, but you'll find them striving to live by what they preach.

Mentoring and being mentored is part of God's plan to equip His people for those greater works that Jesus promised that we would do in His name. We are all called to grow up in Christ and mentoring is a large part of this maturing process. See Ephesians 4:15-16.

Colossains 3:16 says, 'Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly in all wisdom, teaching and admonishing one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing with grace in your hearts to the Lord.' This scripture says it all; this is mentoring in its purest form.

HHave a blessed day
Paul
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Monday, 25 July 2016

Dealing With Fiery Trials In Christ

James 1:2
'Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds...'

As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ we can expect fiery trials to come our way at various times throughout our lives; it would be foolish to think otherwise. 1 Peter 1:6-7 says, 'In all this you greatly rejoice, though now for a little while you may have had to suffer grief in all kinds of trials. These have come so that the proven genuineness of your faith—of greater worth than gold, which perishes even though refined by fire—may result in praise, glory and honor when Jesus Christ is revealed.'

As you can see from this scripture, and many others, Christians will go through trials of various sorts. The question is how are you going to respond to them. Are you going to get angry at God when you lose your job, or are you going to rejoice knowing that God is working all things together for your good?

Will you complain to God when your co-workers mock and persecute you for your faith, or will you pray for boldness to preach the Gospel to those who are deriding you constantly?

Will you harbor bitter resentment towards that brother or sister that offended you, or will you choose to forgive them? Tough questions perhaps, but these are just some of the fiery trials that can come our way. 

We have many promises that are based around blessings, and I praise God for that, but we also have promises that we will enter into trials at various times. See Acts 14:22. So what are you to do? Rejoice because God is at work in you developing your character.  James 1:2,3 says, 'Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.'

We are told to rejoice and to consider it joy! Those who are governed by their carnal nature cannot do this; those governed by the Holy Spirit can. Those being lead by the Spirit know that God is at work and the God has a plan of deliverance for them. 

I can testify to this: During the past 29 years (at the time of this writing) of walking with the Lord, I've faced various trials that have, at times, been vexing to my soul. But through them all God has been faithful to deliver me from and through every one them. 
  
Paul said in 2 Timothy 4:17,18, '...And I was delivered from the lion’s mouth. The Lord will rescue me from every evil attack...'

Are you facing a grievous trial today dear reader? Then rejoice and watch God work it all out for you; stand your ground in faith; stand on the word, and wait patiently Him, you won't be disappointed!

Have a blessed day
Paul
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Friday, 22 July 2016

God Can Set You Free From Anxiety and Depression

Proverbs 12:25
'Anxiety in a mans heart weighs it down...'

The bible says, 'anxiety in a mans heart weighs it down...,' causing hopelessness and depression. Symptoms like your stomach being in knots, having the jitters, your thoughts running completely amok, and depression are common among those suffering anxiety.

What's the answer? Well, it's not found in alcohol, drugs, relationships, money, work, sex, or anything like that. Satan is sometimes the source of anxiety and depression; consider this: When king Soul became self willed the Spirit of the Lord left him and a tormenting spirit came and filled him with depression and fear. See 1 Samuel 16:14.

When we get into disobedience with God or allow pride to fill our hearts, we allow satan to get a foot hold in our lives where he invades our thoughts and emotions. Stopping this spiritual attack is only accomplished by humbling ourselves before God, and repenting of our pride and disobedience. James 4:10 says, 'Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and He will lift you up.'

As believers in the Lord Jesus Christ we have been given authority over the devil, but this authority only kicks in when we're submitted to God. As we humble ourselves and are lifted up by the Lord, taking authority and actively resisting the devil becomes easy. Yes sometimes there will be a fight, but you now have God backing you up all the way.

James 4:7 puts it this way, 'Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.' This is a promise to all believers that if we're submitted to God and we actively resist our enemy he has to flee, forfeiting his hold on our life and his ability to pour on the anxiety and depression, praise the Lord!

Sometimes anxiety and depression can have such a severe hold on a believer that they're unable rise up to take authority over the powers of darkness, so they need help. If you're reading this post and I've just described you, I want you to know that help is available. My advice is that you find someone you know who can pray, and ask them to stand with you against anxiety.

I've personally witnessed people getting set free from anxiety and depression, and I've see the Lord work through my own prayers to set people free. Don't try to do it alone because you will most likely remain in bondage. Seek help from bible believing prayer warriors, and get that chain of anxiety broken off your life for good! Your heavenly Father loves you and wants you free, so trust Him to set you free through the prayers of others.

Have a blessed day
Paul
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Thursday, 21 July 2016

A Relationship With God Based On Rules?

Psalms119:1
'Blessed are those...who walk according to the law of the Lord.'

I love this Psalm because it's is a love song to God's law. When the Psalmist penned these words it was from a joy filled heart of wonderment that stemmed from a relationship with the Creator of the universe. Hear what the Psalmist says, 'with my whole heart I have sought You...' Psalm 119:10. The Psalmist had such a love for God that keeping His law was simply a reflection of the reverential awe he had for his Creator; he had intimacy with God.

A question that comes up from time to time among Christians is this: Are we supposed to keep a set of rules in our relationship with God? Well, from what I can see in scripture there is definitely a place for keeping a moral code as we pursue a relationship with our Creator.

It would help at this point to view God's law as a safety fence. Imagine for a moment children playing near a cliff edge without a fence. They would be in grave danger of falling over that edge, however, if there was fence there you could relax a little knowing that your children are safe.

God's law (moral code) is like a fence that protects us as we do life in a world full of sin and temptation. If we jump over that fence then only certain danger awaits us. If we're fortunate enough to survive and come back to the right side of the fence we would say, like the Psalmist, "Before I was afflicted I went astray, but now I obey your word," Psalm 119:67.

We should also realise that God's law is not only a safety fence but also a mirror that reveals to us that we can't live up to these moral standards without His help. It is only when we comprehend God's love for us that we are willing to stay on the right side of the fence.

The ten commandments begin with: 'I am the Lord your God,' then goes on to list all the do's and don'ts. In the new covenant Jesus fulfilled the law and said,"Love the Lord your God with all you heart...and love you neighbour as yourself," Matthew 22:37-39.

Scripture, therefore, clearly teaches that with God it's relationship first, followed by the rules that govern it. So then, the Christian life is not a question of whether it's just relationship or just keeping rules. Those who say it's only relationship ignore the rules and are in danger of ruin, and those who say it's all rules miss intimacy with God altogether.

You could sum it all up with just one statement: A relationship with God is based on Morality because of Intimacy with God through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. When you truly understand this, you'll trust God no matter what He asks of you.

Have a blessed dayPaul
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Wednesday, 20 July 2016

Are You Condemning Yourself Dear Christian?

Romans 8:34
'Who is he who condemns?...'

Every Christian at some time or another in their life has experienced condemnation. Some Christians have experienced only a mild sense of condemnation whereas others have experienced it to the point of mental anguish.

Are you suffering or do you know someone who is suffering from this debilitating syndrome?Well take heart dear reader because the answer to this awful affliction is found in God's word. Romans 8:1 says, 'Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.'

It's not God who is condemning anyone, it's either you or the arch enemy of your soul the devil. The biblical truth is that God has chosen to see you in Christ, you are acceptable to Him and you always have access to Him.

Hebrews 4:16 says this, 'Let us therefore come boldly to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.'

The answer for the Christian who suffers condemnation is found in the revelation of 'who they are in Christ.' Once a believer gains heart knowledge of who they are in Christ, condemnation melts away.

If you're in Christ, scripture says this about you: 'Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation; old things have passed away; behold, all things have become new.' 2 Corinthians 5:17. Who you are in Christ is a settled issue, so whenever condemnation tries to taunt your soul rise up and stand on the word because God is not condemning you.

Yes the Lord will convict you of sin and lead you to repentance but He will never condemn you. We're not perfect and we'll always have stuff to work on in our character, but God does not teach His children through condemnation.

'Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who makes intersession for us.' Romans 8:34. Every time you fail, Jesus your advocate offers His blood to cover your sin. You just need to confess it to God and move on; you're not condemned, Praise God!

If you are judged or condemned by others know this: We are all equal in Christ; nobody is better than anybody else, and we all have our character flaws that we're working on. So rejoice and stand on this scripture today: 'Surely the Lord God will help me, who is he who will condemn me? Indeed they will all grow old like a garment; the moth will eat them up.' Isaiah 50:9.

Have a blessed dayPaul
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Tuesday, 19 July 2016

The Importance Of Practicing Godly Habits

Jeremiah 22:21
'...This has been your attitude and practice from your youth...'

A habit can be defined as a regular tendency or practice whether good or bad. Habits tend to define who we are and determine, to a large extent, our future. If we are talking about bad habits from a Christian point of view, we're talking about the works of the flesh. If we're talking about good habits, then we're talking about the works prompted by the Spirit.

It is estimated, by Psychologists, that 90% of our behavior is habitual; that's a whopping 90%! The right kind of habits can help you do things more efficiently, and keep you in the will of God, while bad habits can be detrimental and lead you away from God's will.

As believes in Christ Jesus, God has called us to practice certain spiritual disciplines which will keep us in the center of His will and lead us on to maturity in Christ. Here are three essential habits we need to practice daily:

1) A Systematic Intake of God's Word
Jesus said in Matthew 4:4, "But he answered and said, It is written, Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word that proceedeth out of the mouth of God. The word of God, when read and pondered over, will feed, nourish, and strengthen the soul.

2) Regular Prayer
Through prayer we enjoy vital communion with God. Prayer is the place where we can find deep cleansing from the grime of the world and experience the very presence of God. It is a place where our deepest desires of fellowship with God are met. Colosians 4:2 says 'Be persistent and devoted to prayer, being alert and focused in your prayer life with an attitude of thanksgiving.'

3) Devoted Worship
Worship is a natural expression of love and devotion to God. The re-born Christian's spiritual DNA is programed to worship. All our Christian service and sacrifice is born out of worship for the only being in this entire universe worthy of such devotion, the Lord Jesus Christ.

Jesus said in John 4:23
"But a time is coming and is already here when the true worshipers will worship the Father in spirit [from the heart, the inner self] and in truth; for the Father seeks such people to be His worshipers."

Now obviously there are more spiritual disciplines that could be mentioned here, but I've chosen only these three because every other Godly habit (discipline) is built upon them. Habits developed around the Word, Prayer, and Worship are "foundational" for our lives and should be taken seriously; ponder this today and be blessed, amen.

Have a blessed dayPaul
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Monday, 18 July 2016

Wait Upon God And Be Renewed In Strength

Lamentations 3:25
'The Lord is good to those who wait for Him, to the soul who seeks Him.'

As we witness the darkening of this present world it behooves us more than ever to practice waiting on the Lord. It is far to easy to get weighed down with all the trouble that surrounds us. Jesus predicted that the world would wax worse as the time drew near, however, God does not want the troubles of the world to be our focus.

The spirit of the Lord is whispering to His people in His still small voice; "come away my people and wait on Me." Dear reader, can you hear His whisper? God does not want us focusing on the troubles of the world, He want's our attention fixed firmly on Him in this dark hour.

Are you feeling weary and about to faint? Well, take heart dear believer because God has the answer. 'Even the youths shall faint and be weary, and the young men shall utterly fall, but those who wait on the Lord Shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings like eagles, They shall run and not be weary, They shall walk and not faint.' Isaiah 40:31

Waiting on the Lord simply means the following:

1) Waiting in Silence
You've offered up prayer and now your soul is hushed and bowed in silence waiting in faith before God. Don't think that waiting in silence is a waist of time, far from it! Waiting in silence is often where God shows up and miracles happen in the soul, fears and doubts often melting away.

2) Expectancy and Hope
'Truly my soul silently waits for God...my soul, wait silently for God alone, for my expectation is from Him,' Psalm 62:1-5. To wait on God with expectancy and hope implies dependence on Him. It requires faith which is truly precious in God's sight, and will not go unrewarded, Hebrews 11:6

3) Watching
Waiting on the Lord implies watching in the Spirit. The meaning is clearly shown in Proverbs 8:34, 'Blessed is the man who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting at the posts of my doors.' It is in this place of watching that we become sensitive to God's heart, and are able to discern His will.

Those who wait on the Lord are strengthen in their Spirit; yes they shall indeed mount up with wings like eagles, they shall run and not be weary, they shall not falter nor fail. Wait on Him today!

Have a blessed dayPaul
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Friday, 15 July 2016

Your Doubts Don't Disqualify You (Christianity)

John 20:27
'...Do not be unbelieving, but believing.'

Thomas, one of the twelve, was not with the disciples when Jesus suddenly showed up. "We have seen the Lord," they told Thomas, to which Thomas replied, "unless I see His hands...and my put finger into the print of the nails, and put my hand into His side, I will not believe."

Eight days later the disciples were again inside with Thomas, and suddenly Jesus showed up and said to Thomas; "Reach your finger here, and look at my hands, and reach your hand here, and put it into my side. Do not be unbelieving, but believing." And Thomas said to Him, "my Lord and my God." John 20:24-28

What's amazing about this story is that Jesus showed up to talk to a doubter! We've all heard about how important it is to walk by faith, but here is Jesus ministering to a doubter. Now some of us would be tempted to write Thomas off as not qualified to be a disciple, but not Jesus. You see, the wonderful thing about our Savior is that He recognizes a sincere heart and a seeking soul, which He saw in Thomas.

Had Thomas been tempting the Lord like the Pharisees did so many times, I'm sure Jesus's response would have been vastly different. '...the Lord knows the thoughts of man...' (Psalm 94:11). But here's Jesus showing up to answer Thomas's questions; Praise God for His awesome mercy!

Are you having doubts? Perhaps you've committed a sin that you doubt God would ever forgive? Or maybe He's put a call on your life that you very much doubt you can fulfill? God knows your thoughts dear reader, so take those doubts to the Lord in earnest prayer. He will minister to you, and when you leave His loving presence you too will cry out saying, 'my Lord and my God.'

Have a blessed dayPaul
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Thursday, 14 July 2016

Focus On Your Opportunities, Not Your Rights (Christianity)

Philippians 4:8
'...whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just...think on these things...'

People and circumstances should never determine your attitude in life, only you should. To win in life you must be focused on your opportunities, not your rights.

When imprisoned for the Gospel, Paul penned these words, 'Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things...' Philippians 4:8

It's not hard to imagine how Paul's circumstances could have knocked him down. Paul could have demanded his rights; he was a Roman citizen after all, but he chose to focus on the opportunity at hand while locked up in a Roman prison.  Paul took the opportunity to pen a letter encouraging the Philippian believers in their faith. Paul was focused on serving others; he saw an opportunity to bless and serve, even while locked up!

It seems that one of the most common causes of discontent, among Christians, is our constant struggle to 'secure our rights.' The truth is we live in an imperfect world and there will always be times when we're wronged or we feel that we have not received a fair shake.

So we are faced with a decision: Are we going to spend our time and energy on what should have been, or are we going to get over it and focus on what can be? Continually fighting for your rights just makes you angry, resentful, and emotionally drained. When you're focused on getting your 'rights' you're usually looking backwards, and you can't make progress while facing the wrong way!

Focusing your attention on the right things is the only way you'll be able to move in the right direction. This doesn't mean you won't experience pain along the way, it just means you choose to forgive those who have wronged you. It means you choose to zero in on what you can control: Your attitudes and the opportunities that God has brought your way. 

Secure this word in your heart today: 'Brothers and sisters, I do not consider that I have made it my own yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead.' Philippians 3:13

Have a blessed dayPaul
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Wednesday, 13 July 2016

Are You Growing Spiritually?

Ephesians 4:15
'...in all things grow up into Him...that is Christ.'

Spiritual growth does not happen automatically, we must decide to grow into maturity. We must take delight in our spiritual journey. Some Christians make the excuse that their lives are just to hard to focus on growing spiritually. Yet often is the case that where there is hardship there is much growth.

Some Christians get stuck in spiritual infancy because their life is either to busy, or just to good! Is this you? Some say that they'll get around to focusing on spiritual growth when things change; problem is it never happens. Growth always begins with a decision. '...Follow Me and be My disciple...so Matthew got up and followed Him,' Matthew 9:9

Matthew didn't understand, at the time, all the implications of his decision to follow Jesus, he simply made a quality decision to follow. This is all it takes to get started, a decision. If you're already on the road of spiritual growth, good on you. But if you know that you're stuck in spiritual infancy, then take this word to heart and get started.

It all begins with a quality decision; a decision to commit to maturing in Christ. Nothing shapes your future better than the decisions you make today. Want to know what you'll look like in twenty years from now? Then examine the commitments and priorities that rule your life now.

Commit today to growing up in Christ; commit to following Christ no matter what the cost. Set spiritual growth as a priority in your life and commit to it, and God will back you up all the way.  Remember, every choice we make in life has consequences so choose wisely; make Christlike choices, then depend on God to help you fulfill those choices.

Here are three Christlike choices that we should all be committed to making daily:

1) Reading, studying, and meditating in the scriptures.
God's word is food for the reborn Christian. Peter said in 1 Peter 2:2, 'like newborn babies [you should] long for the pure milk of the word, so that by it you may be nurtured and grow in respect to salvation [its ultimate fulfillment].

2) Practicing the word
We must work at applying Biblical principles to grow and become effective in the Lord's work. '...exercise thyself unto godliness,' 1 Timothy 4:7. We must be doers of the word and not hearers only. See James 1:22

3) Fellowship with mature believers
It is a well known truth that we become like those we associate with whether for good or bad. Getting around other believers who are committed to growing in Christ will have a positive effect on your own growth.  You'll be challenged to grow when you're rubbing shoulders with other Christians, see Colossians 3:16

There is no shame in being a babe in Christ if you were born again a few months ago, but if you've been saved for several years and you're still an infant, then there is something wrong with the choices you've been making. So choose today to grow up in Him, it's never to late to get started.


Have a blessed day
Paul
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Tuesday, 12 July 2016

Living A Victorious Christian Life

1 Corinthians 15:57
'...but thanks be to God, who gives us the victory [as conquerors] through our Lord Jesus Christ.'

One of the most common complaints I've heard Christians speak of is this, their lack of victory in the Christian life. I can well understand this complaint because I too have despaired of my own lack of victory on more than a few occasions.

Here's the good news; it doesn't have to be this way! God did not save us only to live a life of constant defeat, no! He has a plan of complete victory for His children; defeat is not is His vocabulary dear Christian.

If you're serious about living a victorious Christian life there are three essential things you  must do:

1) Establish Prayer As Your Top Priority
You prayer life must be "the" most important thing you ever do on this blue planet. Prayer takes you out of the natural and into the supernatural where you meet with God face to face. Prayer puts a shield of divine protection around you.

Jesus said in Matthew 26:4, 'Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation: the spirit indeed [is] ready, but the flesh weak.' We must acknowledge our vulnerability to sin, otherwise we will not pray against it. Our enemy seeks to trip us up with sin, and his best weapon against us is ourselves. This is the reason our old nature must be crucified daily, and prayer is how we do it.

2) Fill Your Mind And Heart With God's Word
Jesus said in Matthew 4:4, 'Man shall not live by bread alone, but by every word which goes out through God's mouth.' While in the wilderness, Jesus was tempted by the devil on three occasions, and each time Jesus said, 'it is written.'

A Christian who knows the word of God is a force to be reckoned with. Why? Because the devil can't prevail against you when you know God's Word and stand on it. Just like Jesus in the wilderness, you  can gain the victory over the enemy of your soul.

3) Burn Every Bridge From Your Previous Lifestyle
Acts 19:19 says this, 'And many of those that practiced curious arts brought their books [of charms] and burnt them before all.' These new believers did not mess around, they were serious with the Lord and burned the bridges to their old lives; they were committed to follow the Lord Jesus Christ. They lived by the words, '... don't let yourself think about ways to indulge your evil desires.' Romans 13:1.

Living a victorious life is yours for the taking, dear reader, but only if you get committed with the Lord and practice these spiritual disciplines without wavering. Yes you might trip up now and then, we all do, but just get up repent and keep on going. Remember it's God's will that you live victoriously, so He's backing you all the way!

Have a blessed dayPaul
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Monday, 11 July 2016

Choosing To Live In Peace - The Way Of The Christian

2 Corinthians 13:11
'Live in peace...and the Author and Promoter of peace will be with you.'

With all the trouble going on in the world with the mass shootings, the shooting and killing of four police officers recently, racial tensions, terrorism, and whatever else you care to name, it's becoming all to easy for us to loose our peace. What is the Christian to do? Well, for starters we need to take our eyes off all the troubles befalling the world and focus on the Kingdom of God where abundant peace dwells.

The Kingdom of God is Righteousness, Peace, and Joy in the Holy Spirit. Romans 14:17 says this: 'for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness, and peace, and joy in [the] Holy Spirit.'

When I look around the world today and see all the civil unrest, I see a world devoid of the Kingdom of God. I see a world desperate for peace which can only be found in God's embrace.

The question is: Are we going to strive to be peace makers with our neighbor, or are we going to enter into all the fighting that's around us? Strong opinions abound these days, and they're vigorously contended for in the sphere of social media, so much so that even Christians are getting caught up in the online rage.

Christians fighting Christians! This ought not be; this is not becoming for the child of God. Yet many believers spend hours ranting, raving, and cutting down their brothers and sisters in the Lord. It's bad enough that this happens in everyday life but it's even worse online; believers going at it, offending and being offended, and all before unbelievers!

As ambassadors of Christ we need to become more like our Master in dealing with others. Paul writes, '...live in peace [enjoy the spiritual well-being experienced by believers who walk closely with God]; and the God of love and peace [the source of loving-kindness] will be with you. 2 Corinthians 13:11 

Jesus said in Matthew 5:9, 'Blessed [spiritually calm with life-joy in God’s favor] are the makers and maintainers of peace, for they will [express His character and] be called the sons of God.' I don't know about you but I'd rather follow the way of peace, which Jesus taught, and have the peace of God with me.  

Whenever there is fighting, bickering, envy, and self-seeking among us there can be no God, and no peace, but only every evil thing, see James 3:14-16. Scripture is very clear on this point that such wisdom is sensual, and demonic. But when we practice affection, goodwill, love, and benevolence toward others, God has promised to be with us.

If we are citizens of the Kingdom of Peace, should we not pursue peace with our neighbor? In deed we should, see 1 Peter 3:10,11, and see Psalm 34:14. 

So the word I want to encourage you with today is: Choose to live in peace and the God of peace will surely be with you, amen.

Have a blessed day
Paul
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Friday, 8 July 2016

Faith Takes The Plunge

Matthew14:28,29 
'Peter replied to Him, “Lord, if it is [really] You, command me to come to You on the water.” He said, “Come!” So Peter got out of the boat, and walked on the water and came toward Jesus.'

There are two kinks of people: Those who leap before they look and those who look and look and never take the leap. Those who leap before they look are driven by impulse, and those who look and look never taking the leap are controlled by fear. Which are you?

To get to the promised land of Canaan, Israel had to step into the River Jordan while at high tide. God had promised that when the feet of the priests, carrying the ark, stepped into the water it would part. Can you imagine their thoughts? I'm sure some would have thought, 'yeah lets do it, God is with us, while others would have thought, 'hey we might drown, couldn't we wait until the tide goes down?'

What's holding you back from your God-given destiny, is it fear that you'll drown, fail, or be made fun of? To reach your God-ordained destiny you must stop holding back, obey God and step into the water. Like Israel, you'll experience the supernatural provision of God.

Doors will open, and resources will be released. God will provide the means, the strategy, and the man power. Isaiah 43:4,5 says this: '...I have loved you; therefore I will give men for you , and people for your life. Fear not for I am with you...'

I like that don't you? What a wonderful promise of provision! If you're fearful of taking that first step into your destiny, stand on this promise and dare to trust God; trust Him to empower and equip you; trust Him to provide all you need for the journey. Of this you can be assured: He is faithful to His promises, but you must take that all important initial step of faith.

When Peter saw Jesus waking towards them on the water he said, “Lord, if it is [really] You, command me to come to You on the water.” To which Jesus replied, "come." Now here's the thing, we've all heard it preached how Peter failed and sank right? But he did actually step out of the boat; he did actually walk on the water for a few moments.

I don't see Peter failing at all; I see him taking a leap of faith! Sure he let fear grip his heart, but he still cried out to God and got back to the boat safely. Now I'm not saying that you should just rush out and try to make your God-given destiny happen, that would be foolish.

What I am saying is that if you've been praying and waiting on the Lord, when He speaks be sure to obey Him, one step at a time. Yes the Lord may have revealed His grand plan for you, but He will take you on the journey step by step. 

Have a blessed dayPaul
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Thursday, 7 July 2016

Don't Let Worry Cripple Your Faith

Philippians 4:6
'Don't worry about anything...'

Worry can come from many sources and can have serious consequences for your spiritual life. It is a serious enemy and should never be under-estimated. If you're suffering under the burden of worry take heart because God does not want you to suffer with this menace any more.

Lets begin with identifying the source of your worries. Perhaps you grew up in a family where you never felt secure because they themselves were full of fear and were unable to comfort you with words of affirmation and approval. 

Perhaps you've been listening to much to the prophets of doom and gloom, hearing only what's wrong with the world and how much worse it's going to get. This is common among Christian circles today and it's spreading like cancer throughout the Internet.

So what is the source of your anxiety? You really need to be honest with yourself here. It may be financial fears, relationship fears, professional fears, health fears, or maybe even safety fears. Once you've identified the source you're on your way to expelling this nasty force of worry.

So how do we go about expelling our fears? Well, the most effective way is to drag them out into the light before God in prayer. Prayer, that is based on God's word, will send your fears running. Know the scriptures dear believer, know them well and put your faith in God's ability to set you free.

Philippians 4:6 says, 'Do not be anxious or worried about anything, but in everything [every circumstance and situation] by prayer and petition with thanksgiving, continue to make your [specific] requests known to God. And the peace of God [that peace which reassures the heart, that peace] which transcends all understanding, [that peace which] stands guard over your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [is yours],' (AMP)

So take heart dear believer and know that you don't have to live in fear all your life because you have a mighty and loving God who is ready and most willing to set you free. All you have to do is ask and then rest in His love, knowing that He cares for you. But ask believing; don't doubt, and you will receive abundant help.

Take this promise with you today:
‘Do not fear [anything], for I am with you; Do not be afraid, for I am your God. I will strengthen you,
be assured I will help you; I will certainly take hold of you with My righteous right hand [a hand of justice, of power, of victory, of salvation].Isaiah 41:10


Have a blessed dayPaul
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Wednesday, 6 July 2016

The Power of Praising God

Acts 16:26
"And suddenly there was a great earthquake, so that the foundations of the prison shook, and all the doors were immediately opened, and the all bonds loosed."

About midnight Paul and Silas were singing hymns to God and suddenly there was a violent earth quake and all the prison doors were opened and all the chains loosed. Oh praise His mighty name! Praise loosens chains, opens doors and breaks every bondage.

Praise is such a powerful weapon; praise causes our enemy to flee; praise strengthens the weary and battle fatigued heart. Every time you praise God, in spite of your circumstances, all of heaven comes to your aid.

Now I understand well, that sometimes you just don't feel like praising God when your emotions are completely spent, but praise Him anyway! This is your sacrifice of praise and God considers it a precious thing in His sight.

The Psalmist wrote, "I will bless the Lord at all times; His praise shall continually be in my mouth," Psalm 34:1. How could he do this? Well, he new his God; he new that God would surround him with songs of deliverance, see Psalm 32:7

Anyone can praise God in the good times. But when you have to rise above your feelings and negative circumstances, that's when it really counts. When you're ruled by negative emotions and circumstances, your life will be like a roller-coaster ride; up one minute and down the next.

Don't live like that precious believer! Praise Him in all things and you'll move from weakness to strength, from defeat to victory, and the joy of the Lord will flood your heart, amen to that!

Have a blessed dayPaul
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Tuesday, 5 July 2016

Dare To Believe Your God-Given Vision

Greetings dear reader,

Habakkuk 2:2
'Write the vision and make it plain...'

Do you have a vision from the Lord? If you do you need to write it down. This is important because a vision that comes from God is going to be challenged by our arch enemy, and I can tell you from personal experience that this is true.

If you don't yet have a vision don't worry because God has a purpose for you, and it's His intention to reveal His vision to you. Your job, however, is to seek God in prayer for that vision to materialize in your mind's eye.

When we think about God given visions we're really taking about dreams. One of the methods God uses to speak to His children is dreams. Take Abraham for example, God told Abraham that He would multiply his descendants like the stars of heaven, Genesis 26:4

I'm pretty sure Abraham would have looked up into the stars that night with a sense of wonder and awe at what God had told him. The Lord was giving Abraham a dream; a dream that was to big for him to conceive himself. This is important to understand, you see when God gives you a dream it'll always look bigger than you; it'll always seem way out there and impossible to reach.

That's a good thing because then we know that it's not us but God that will fulfill the vision that He has given us, if we will simply trust Him to do so. When it comes to your dream don't be impatient because God-given dreams/visions are always for an appointed time; God is never in a hurry, and He's never late, so rest in Him. See Habakkuk 2:3

Don't get discouraged by circumstances either, because there will always be someone or something that will try to rob you of your dream. Psalm 27:13, says this; 'I had fainted, unless I had believed to see the goodness of the Lord in the land of the living.'

So dare to trust God and you will see your dream fulfilled, amen!

Have a blessed dayPaul
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Monday, 4 July 2016

Take Courage-God is on Your Side!

Samuel 23:20
"And Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, son of a valiant man, great in exploits, of Kabzeel: he it was that smote two lions of Moab; and he went down and smote a lion in the midst of a pit on a snowy day"

Benaiah was one of king David's mighty men; a valiant fighter, and he killed a lion in the snow. Whenever you read of a mighty or valiant man in scripture you're reading of a man with courage. What I like about Benaiah is that he killed this particular lion in the snow. 

I can imaging how cold it might of been for him, especially his feet, yet he still faced this lion even with cold feet. Courage with cold feet; I like that!  Fear brings cold feet; fear can come from negative circumstances, and/or demonic spirits. Either way it must be dealt with promptly.

What are you facing today that's giving you cold feet? Perhaps you're facing a health, financial, or family crisis. Have people been telling you that you can't do what God has called you to do? It's these very things that can cause even the most seasoned Christian to falter.

The antidote? Hearing from God about your particular circumstance. When you know you've heard from God you're filled with faith for that moment. It puts steel into your spine; it gives you the spiritual guts to face any circumstance.
   
A believer filled with faith is a believer filled with courage. Someone once said, "courage is just fear that's said its prayers." I'd like to add to that and say that courage is someone who steps out on Gods' Word regardless of the circumstances.

Courage is not the absence of fear but it is the resistance and mastery of fear. Therefore when bad things happen, you have a choice to either give into fear and allow it to destroy your peace and well-being, or you can be a courageous worrier armed with God's Word and rise up against it.  

Dear believer in Christ, when fear threatens to engulf your mind take a stand; rise up with the Psalmist and say, "whenever I'm afraid, I will trust in the You." Psalm 56:3


Have a blessed dayPaul
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