LOVE IS THE ANSWER...
When we truly come to understand how much God loves us, we can't help but love God with all of our heart. When we truly come to understand how much God loves others, we can't help but love others just as He loves them. God is love.
FAITH PLEASES GOD...
I know a man of great faith who was diagnosed with kidney cancer (his right kidney.) Even so, his great faith never left Him. Knowing what God was doing in his life, and what God had done for him (as revealed in the Bible), his faith never waned.
In great faith, he affirmed before his Heavenly Father, and others, what He knew to be so - through Christ Jesus, God had taken up all his infirmity and healed all his disease (Isaiah 53:5; Psalm 103:3). He knew God could but speak the word and the cancer would be removed, or He could have the doctors do so - whichever way God chose, the outcome would be the same (no infirmity, no disease.) And it was so.
The size of the tumor on his kidney was 12 centimeters (approximately 5 inches) and the doctors said that it had been there for a very long time. Even so, God had contained the cancer within the kidney, and when it was removed, he is now cancer free. The doctors said that no cancer had gone beyond this kidney. God's word did not fail (nor will it ever) - faith reached out and took hold of that which God had done in the supernatural; thereby making it so in the natural. Faith is pleasing to God (Hebrews 11:6).
DESIRE GOD ABOVE ALL ELSE...
When we determine to walk close with the Lord, our relationship with Him becomes so important, that we will not allow anyone, or anything, to keep us from fulfilling our destiny serving Him.
We will love God above all else, and our love of Him will overflow into all areas of our life. We will see others as God sees them; and love them as He loves them. We will also strive to be Christ-like in all that we do.
We will delight ourselves in the work of the Holy Spirit; Who daily transforms us more and more into the true image and likeness of Christ Jesus. We will also experience a lot of God's grace and peace in our life.
Another thing we will do is look forward, with anticipation, to spending a lot of time with God in prayer and Bible study; getting to know Him better and better. In the process, God will grant unto us all of the desires of our heart in accordance with His will. Why? Because we delight ourselves in Him, He delights Himself in us.
God will also give us peace in the midst of the storms of life, hope for the future, and a sense of purpose here and now.
God is an awesome God - He is Almighty God, creator of all things, from everlasting to everlasting, Heavenly Father, Prince of Peace, the One who sets the times for all who have the breath of life within. He is wonderful, counselor, our all in all- without Him we wouldn't even exist. He provides all that we need and desire. And gives unto us eternal life.
The closer we walk with the Lord, the more we will see God's love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control in our lives. Only God can give us this. God is love.
LOVE NEVER FAILS...
I was thinking about the two most important characteristics of a true Christian, and the two are a deep love for God and others through Christ Jesus.
The Bible tells us that love covers a multitude of sins. Love won't pay for a multitude of sins, however it will keep us from committing them. The Bible also says that we are to love our enemies. (Matthew 5:43-48) In fact, Jesus said: "My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you." (John 15:12)
There is a church tradition which says that when the apostle John was an old man in Ephesus, in the latter part of the first century AD, he had to be carried to the church in the arms of his disciples. At these meetings, he was accustomed to say no more than, "Little children, love one another!" After a time, the disciples wearied at always hearing the same words, asked, "Master, why do you always say this?" "It is the Lord's command," was his reply. "And if this alone be done, it is enough." So what are some of the characteristics of love?
According to the Bible, love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. (1 Corinthians 13:4-8 NIV)
Hopefully, this is what we see in our relationships with others.
Early one morning, Jesus was walking by the Sea of Galilee, in Israel, when He noticed large crowds coming to Him. Upon seeing this, He went up the side of a hill, sat down, and waited. When they arrived, He began to teach them. And this is what He said:
"Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more important than food, and the body more important than clothes? Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? Who of you by worrying can add a single hour to his life ? "
And why do you worry about clothes? See how the lilies of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will He not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, 'What shall we eat?' or 'What shall we drink?' or 'What shall we wear?' For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own."
(Matthew 6:25-34 NIV)
God has said to His children, that if they would live a life close to Him, when times get hard (such as these), then they wouldn't have to worry if they would make it, or not; they would. They would be like a tree planted by water that sends out its roots by the stream which does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. And it has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit. (Jeremiah 17:7-8)
God's our life sustaining water. We need not worry in times of drought. Just continue to trust in His love and kindness towards you. Don't lose heart! As Jesus said,"seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well." Things He knows you need; things He will give unto you.
Praise the LORD, O my soul; all my inmost being, praise His holy name.
Praise the LORD, O my soul, and forget not all His benefits- Who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, Who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion,
Who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's.
The LORD works righteousness and justice for all the oppressed. He made known His ways to Moses, His deeds to the people of Israel: The LORD is compassionate and gracious, slow to anger, abounding in love. He will not always accuse, nor will He harbor His anger forever; He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities. For as high as the heavens are above the earth, so great is His love for those who fear Him; as far as the east is from the west, so far has He removed our transgressions from us.
As a father has compassion on his children, so the LORD has compassion on those who fear
Him; for He knows how we are formed, He remembers that we are dust. As for man, his days are like grass, he flourishes like a flower of the field; the wind blows over it and it is gone, and its place remembers it no more. But from everlasting to everlasting the LORD's love is with those who fear Him, and His righteousness with their children's children- with those who keep His covenant and remember to obey His precepts. The LORD has established His throne in heaven, and His kingdom rules over all. Praise the LORD, you his angels, you mighty ones who do His bidding, who obey His word. Praise the LORD, all His heavenly hosts, you His servants who do His will. Praise the LORD, all His works everywhere in His dominion. Praise the LORD, O my soul.
Many talk about fulfilling their destiny; their destiny serving the Lord in some sort of Christian ministry. They start out with gusto, however, they fail to move forward, they do not persevere. What is it that keeps many from doing so? Could it be fear? Fear that God will not provide for them along the way? Fear of failure?
God has not given His children a spirit of fear, but, rather, a spirit of faith. Faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. (Hebrews 11:1) Fear, however, sets in when we are not trusting fully in what God has said.
When seeking God's guidance, do we really believe Him when He says, "If any of you lacks wisdom, he should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given him. But when he asks, he must believe and not doubt, because he who doubts is like a wave of the sea, blown and tossed by the wind. That man should not think he will receive anything from the Lord; he is a double-minded man, unstable in all he does." (James 1:5-8)
When times are trying for many financially throughout the world, as they are now days, fear has a way of creeping in; even for Christians. Why? It's due to lack of faith in God and what He has promised His children He would do for them.
Could it be that due to a lack of spending time with God, they are not that familiar with what God has promised? The Bible tells us that faith comes by hearing, or reading, the Bible and then putting it into practice. We will never have faith in God and His promises unless we know what they are, believe them, and act upon them. God has said that if we do not allow His words to depart from our mouths, and if we will meditate upon them day and night, and be careful to do everything written in His word, then we will be prosperous and successful. (Joshua 1:8) He also said: " ... no matter how many promises God has made, they are "Yes" in Christ..."
(2 Corinthians 1:20)
CULTIVATE HIS PRESENCE...
If we want more of God's favor and blessings in our lives, then we shouldn't be looking to others, but, rather, to Jesus. Everything is found in Jesus. Are you looking for healing? Jesus is healing. Are you looking for peace? Jesus is peace. Are you looking for prosperity? Jesus is prosperity. Jesus is everything. Religion won't give you this. Following the Law can't give you this; but Jesus does. Cultivate His presence. Immerse yourself in Him. Desire His presence in your life above all. Walk with Him.
SOMETHING TO CONSIDER...
I know a man who many years ago, over time, had moved from tithing to not tithing (giving a tenth of his income for the support of the church and its ministries.) It wasn't a conscious decision on his part to do so, but, rather, just a slow progression over time. Eventually he got to a point where he wasn't able to meet his daily financial needs.
One Sunday, while listening to the pastor preach, he realized what had happened. He determined that he was going to return to tithing even if it meant he died (if he starved to death or whatever.) It wasn't to receive a financial blessing from the Lord that he wanted to do this. It was just because he wanted to do it for the Lord. Immediately his finances increased five fold. God honors those who honor Him with their material possessions. The more we're willing to give away, the more He's willing to give to us (this is something that the Lord had taught him as a young Christian.)
When we fail to give due to our circumstances, what we're saying to the Lord is that we do not believe He will meet our needs, we'll do it in our own strength. That's not pleasing to God. (Philippians 4:19 ; Hebrews 11:6)
Another thing he noticed is that as he increased, or decreased, his giving above the tithe, his income increased, or decreased proportionately. (2 Corinthians 9:6-11) The biblical principle pertaining to tithes and offerings, as recorded in (Malachi 3:10-12, Luke 6:38), is even applicable for today; so is what's written in (Matthew 6:25-34; Jeremiah 17:7-8.)
It has also been said that our younger generation has not been taught the importance of tithing. This is sad because they miss out on the blessings that come with tithing. Is it possible that the root of many financial hardships can be found in our failure in this area?
GOD BLESSES YOU...
Remember what it was like when you became a new Christian? Immediately, you were overwhelmed with God's blessings. In fact, it probably got to a point where you thought you couldn't take anymore. It seemed like everything you desired, God was giving you. The truth was that God had always been blessing you, however, when you had a change of mind, realized that you needed Him, and turned to Him in repentance through faith in Christ Jesus as Lord and Savior, this renewing of your mind allowed God to bless you even more (abundantly.) To receive blessings wasn't what you sought, however, you did receive them. What you sought was to live a life, from that point forward, that was pleasing to God. Out of love for God and all that He had just done for you through Christ Jesus, you wanted to return this love to Him and others. You wanted all of Jesus. You wanted to walk close with God.
PRIDE BEFORE A FALL...
In many politicians, I've noticed two distinct ways they refer to things. One refers to everything in the first person. Example, "my administration" or "my secretary of this, or that etc." The other uses the word "we" a lot.
At a televised Town Hall meeting, there was a congressman who got into an argument with one in the audience (one he was elected to represent.) In the course of the argument, he shouted something to the effect," No one is going to tell me how to vote in congress.' That's my decision!" The following is a humorous story of how sinful pride can get us into trouble.
A pastor had been called to a small country church, a church searching for a new pastor (their pastor had left.) Wanting to make a good impression, he was thinking of ways to do so.
Upon entering this small country church, he noticed a dove in the broken down attic. Ah! he thought, just perfect. What he would do is catch this dove and at just the right time in his sermon have someone release it from the attic as a sign from God that the Holy Spirit was descending in a mighty way upon them (because of his Godliness, and the fact that he was such a gifted preacher.) That would surely impress everyone; he would surely be called to be their new pastor; he was going to need someone to help him however.
Noticing a young boy playing in the front yard of the church he thought to himself, "Ah! he will be my accomplice."
He told the young lad that he wanted him to go up into the attic, and at just the right time during his sermon, when he yelled out , "And let the Holy Spirit descend upon us", he was to release the dove. The dove descending in the sanctuary would surely impress everyone as a sign from God of his spirituality.
When he began to preach, the preacher yelled out in a loud voice, "And let the Holy Spirit descend upon us," however nothing happened. Thinking the young lad had not heard him, he yelled out in an even louder voice, "And let the Holy Spirit descend upon us." This went on several times but nothing happened. By this time he was really frustrated.
A quiet voice could be heard from above saying, "Pastor, I can't release the Holy Spirit. There's a cat up here that ate the Holy Spirit."
GOD WORKS MIRACLES...
God is a God of miracles. In fact, the Christian life is a life filled with miracles; some we see in extraordinary ways and some we don't.
Arthur Blessitt a Christian evangelist and Jan Crouch co-founder of the Trinity Broadcasting Network tell an amazing story of how God intervened in a miraculous way to save Arthur's life.
Arthur is a Christian evangelist who has walked across every country and major island group in the world carrying a cross behind him. On one of his evangelistic walks, his life was threatened by men who meant to kill him.
While walking the Pan-American Highway in a country south of the USA, he and several companions had stopped in a small town for the night. The people there told him that he should not stay because he would be killed if he did (it was in a country known for bandits, terrorists, drug cartels and the like.) He told them that he had never run before and he wouldn't start then.
That night, while in his room, several men showed up and demanded that he come outside. He did, they had guns, and they meant to kill him.
While this was going on, Jan Crouch was awaken from her sleep in California, USA. What she saw on the roof of her bedroom was a face of Arthur glowing brightly. Startled, she woke her husband Paul up and told him that they needed to pray for Arthur immediately because he was in trouble; she prayed that God would send twelve of His strongest angels to protect him.
Arthur picks up the story by saying that he didn't know what to do, they were getting ready to shoot him.
Seeing a box of Bibles on the ground, he leaned over and began to tear it open. I don't know if it was out of instinct that he did this, or what, (he doesn't even know) but he did.
The next thing he knows is that all of the men were lying on the ground. In fact, one was lying in a pickup truck with his feet hanging out.
After the men had fled, he went back into his room. His companions were startled to see him alive; they were sure he was dead because of the commotion they had heard outside.
The next day, some of the local people said that they had not seen what had gone on, but from a far, they had seen a bright light coming up from the area this had taken place in. God had sent angels to protect Arthur.
WALK GREATLY WITH JESUS...
I was watching a young preacher on TV the other night and he was speaking on a most exciting subject. His point was that he was daring to go where Jesus goes no matter what others may say or do. Where he goes might cause others to say that he can't, however, if Jesus says he can, than he will. He is willing to do whatever it takes to walk in a great way with Jesus. Where Jesus is, that's where he wants to be. Where Jesus goes, that's where he wants to go. Where Jesus leads, that's where he wants to faithfully, and with gusto, go. He wants to "walk greatly with Jesus."
This should be what all Christians want, and I'm sure it is. Unfortunately, we allow many things to get in our way; our way of "walking greatly with Jesus."
Where is Jesus leading you? Are you willing to go where He leads? To be where He is? To do what He says? I know in our hearts we will all say yes. We all need to commit ourselves daily to "walk greatly with Jesus."
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