Have you ever thought, "I'm a pretty good Christian. Especially compared to others."? Maybe you're even of the opinion that you've reached an elevated plateau in your spiritual walk. And when others point out certain flaws, you might think, "I'm not like that!".
Paul wrote, "Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me." Phil. 3:12
It's easy to look at ourself and compare ourselves with others and think we're all that and a bag of chips. The reason we believe that, is because we are measuring ourself to others. Reality check! People are not perfect, neither are we. We should be gauging ourself with the Word of God. It's perfect and complete. That's where we will find, with the help of the Holy Spirit, the places we are missing.
I know, I don't like to think I've got shortcomings either. But, come on, we live in an imperfect world, with devil influences. It's easy to conclude that we're right and everyone else has the problem, because the devil wants us to walk in the flesh and not in the Spirit.
But Paul wrote in Ephesians 4:20-24AMP "But you did not so learn Christ! Assuming that you have really heard Him and been taught by Him, as [all] Truth is in Jesus [embodied and personified in Him], Strip yourselves of your former nature [put off and discard your old unrenewed self] which characterized your previous manner of life and becomes corrupt through lusts and desires that spring from delusion; And be constantly renewed in the spirit of your mind [having a fresh mental and spiritual attitude], And put on the new nature (the regenerate self) created in God’s image, [Godlike] in true righteousness and holiness."
I encourage you to take a look at yourself, began to pray and ask the Holy Spirit to reveal to you any characteristic that isn't lining up to the Word of God. Trust me, He will uncover those areas. Then, make a conscience effort to request the help of the Spirit to remove those traits. After repentance, it's then that you begin to confess what you are in Christ. Speak God's Word over yourself. Call those things that be not as though they were. It won't be long till you begin to see a new you. One that's walking in the Spirit and not in the flesh. I guarantee it.
Fighting the good fight of faith can bring out the best or the worst in a person! There isn't anyone, who doesn't have challenges. And by challenges, I mean adversity. You know the kind, aches and pains in the body, need for money for a specific thing, or perhaps an answer for a situation or problem faced. Yes, everyone faces hardships. I know there are times we think, we're the only one that's ever dealt with 'this affliction' or we're the only one 'going through' it! But let me reassure you, YOU'RE NOT ALONE! (lol - laugh out loud) Look around, lots of people are coping with all kinds of dilemmas.
Yes, we all encounter difficulties. I've heard people say, 'well....you know, it's the trials that will make you strong and God's trying to teach you something.' Now that's NOT truth, friends. It's what we DO in the midst of these trials that makes us strong. Take for instance, working out at the gym. When one lifts weights, and pushes against that weight, that's what increases his strength. Likewise, the stand we take in the midst of troubles, the decision to press in closer to God, and the tenacity to trust Him, is what makes us strong. And as far as God trying to teach us something? Really? I heard a well known minister say once, "we all can learn from bad situations. If I hit my thumb with a hammer, the only thing I learn, is to be sure to move my thumb the next time I use a hammer." God doesn't bring bad events to teach us something! Although we can learn in the midst of them, God teaches us through His Word.
I know first hand, that when faced with trials, it's easy to look at the problem and think it's going to be this way always! There are times when the answer is delayed and we reach the 'eleventh hour', then fear creeps in. That's when our imagination really goes crazy. But let me reassure you, if you trust the Lord with all your heart and lean NOT to your own understanding, He WILL direct your path. (Pro. 3:5) All the worry, fretting or agonizing will not change anything. It only causes sickness and dispair. Take to heart, Phil 4:6,7, "Be careful for nothing; but in every thing by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God which passes all understanding, shall keep your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus."
Yes, that's right, don't be anxious, don't be full of care for any reason! But take your requests to God in prayer. Here's where confidence in Him comes in, know that if we ask any thing according to His will (and we know healing is His will, prosperity is His will, wisdom is His will) He hears us! And IF we KNOW He hears us, whatever we're asking, we KNOW we have the appeal! (1John 5:14-15) Then peace, God's peace takes over our hearts and minds.
Getting through tough situations requires faith! Faith in God, faith in His Word! It's the kind of faith that chooses to believe God and His Word more than the evidence of what we see, hear, think, or feel. It's the kind of faith that knows that the circumstance we see, hear, feel or think, has to be under the authority of the Word! It's the kind of faith that declares the Word over the circumstance, instead of what we see, hear, feel or think. This kind of faith, says "I already have the answer to my request!" This kind of faith is determined, committed, unwavering and hangs on, no matter what! This is the kind of faith that is the victory that overcomes! You can have that kind of faith, only believe and receive the triumph over your trial. See what God sees, the Victory!
If you have a prayer request or need agreement for your situation, please contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
There comes a time in every Christians life where they see a friend that's taking a path that is leading to destruction. Something that can ruin their life and possibly others surrounding them. If grieves our spirits and our hearts when people, who often know the Truth of God's Word, and yet decide not to follow it. No matter how much we share the Word, or encourage them in the scriptures, it just seems like they still want to follow their desire.
So you ask yourself, what's a person suppose to do? Are we suppose to just let them go off the deep end? Let them lose it all, their soul, their family, their walk with God just to pursue carnal impulses? A question many of us have asked ourselves many times over. When is enough, enough? When should we stop trying or should we stop trying?
There's a story in the Bible about a young man who had such a craving for the world, that he was willing to walk away from his responsibilities, his family, his faith, and really all that he had ever known, to run after his cravings. And with that, he took all his inheritance and left for a far away land. It was there that he wasted his possessions with extravagant living, partying with his new found friends until he had used it all. At that moment in the land, where he lived, a severe famine arose. It was then he found himself without and wanting.
You're probably saying, "that's a good story and all, but what's that got to do with my friend, my loved one, and how I can help him?". You see, sometimes, no matter how much we talk to our friend, they've already decided, or chosen, the other path. It doesn't matter how dark it may be, or how many dangers lurk in the shadows, they still think they must chase the longings. To them there seems like there's no other way.
But there's more to the story, that young man found someone in that country that put him to work feeding pigs. (A very degrading job) He realized that his willingness to eat the pigs food had brought him to rock-bottom. It was then he determined to go home, knowing that he could be a servant in his father's house, living and eating better than he was. Thus he did!
The story says when the father saw the son far away, he ran to him and welcomed him home. This tells me the father was watching, waiting, anticipating, believing in faith for his son's return. Even praying and trusting the Lord.
Your friend or loved one, may have journeyed away from the truth of God's Word, but I encourage you to have faith, keep praying, keep believing, keep confessing the Word. Pray the eyes of their understanding will be enlightened,(Eph 1:18) that God will place the right people in their path and bring them to repentance. All things are possible with God. (Mark 9:23) There IS hope. God's love for them never fails, never gives up.(1 Cor. 13:4-8) Keep watching, because even at an eleventh hour they can return to the path of God.
Discouragement comes in many forms. One can hear the voices of the past echoing throughout their thoughts, "You're not going to amount to anything.", "Can't you ever get it right?", or "You're just a loser." Allowing those things to remain constant in our thinking, only hinders us from achieving and becoming all that the Lord said we can. That's because we believe them! We've heard them over and over again, whether someone said them or whether you've replayed them in your thinking.
But I want to tell you today, that you are remarkable! God created you one of a kind, unique and significant! No one is without importance. It doesn't matter where you live, who your parents are, or what you've done or not done! You are someone God created with purpose! You're not an accident!
Ephesians 2:10(AMP). "For we are God's [own] handiwork (His workmanship), recreated in Christ Jesus, [born anew] that we may do those good works which God predestined (planned beforehand) for us [taking paths which He prepared ahead of time], that we should walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged for us to live]."
Perhaps you're just what you would call, an ordinary person, with no extraordinary talents. Just the average 'joe'. But deep within there's something that's been instilled. You may not have tapped into it yet. In fact it may be lying dormant. Nonetheless, it's there! It's there because God put it in you! Your abilities are sometimes hidden because they've been squelched by all the negativity of life. Despite the suppressing, I want you to begin to look for all your God given qualities. It could be a beautiful smile that lights up the room and generates a 'domino effect'. Possibly you have the knack of making others feel better about themselves by your enthusiastic attitude. What ever your gift is, I encourage you to pray for the Lord to reveal His endowment. Your life, crosses the path of many others and is important to each one.
And if you think you're inadequate, don't give up. Philippians 1:6 says, "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." He's still working in you, perfecting those things. The work's not done. You can be all He's called and created you to be.
Character and conduct begin in the mind. Our actions are affected by the things we dwell on in our thoughts. Therefore we should concentrate on things that will result in better living. Philippians 4:8 says, "Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy, meditate on these things." Keep your thoughts centered on God's Word and you can accomplish what He's called you to do.
Probably one of the most hardest things for Christians, is to be diligent in the doing of the Word. Some people just don't know how to take what they've heard from the Bible and apply it to their life. Then there are those, who just say "It's too difficult to do those things". Usually the difficulty comes because people don't want to lay down the things in their life that are contrary to the Word of God. They don't want to loose friendships (worldly ones) or change habits all on account of what others will think.
James 1: 21 says, "So get rid of every filthy habit and all wicked conduct. Submit to God and accept the word that he plants in your hearts, which is able to save you. 22 Do not deceive yourselves by just listening to his word; instead, put it into practice. 23 If you listen to the word, but do not put it into practice you are like people who look in a mirror and see themselves as they are. 24 They take a good look at themselves and then go away and at once forget what they look like. 25 But if you look closely into the perfect law that sets people free, and keep on paying attention to it and do not simply listen and then forget it, but put it into practice—you will be blessed by God in what you do."
We must come to realize that FAITH is acting on the Word. It takes FAITH to do what we've heard. You see, the Word of God, only comes alive in us, in the measure we practice it. It's a well known fact, that people can know what is promised to them, in the Bible, and still not receive it. You can know healing is for today and not be healed. It's the knowledge of God's Word acted upon that brings forth the promise. You must believe! Believe is acting on the Word. You must confess your belief. "With the heart man believes unto righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation".(Rom. 10:10) We have to SAY to the mountain to be removed..then what we say, IF we believe, we will have what we SAY! (Mark 11:22-24)
So then, we understand that to be a doer of the Word demands that we DO something. Which is ACTION on our part. It's time we stop procrastinating and decide to execute the Word in our lives. It's time to decrease so that He, in us, can increase.
I close with a classic story about procrastination and it goes like this. An American eagle was flying high over the Niagara River on a cold and wintry day. He saw a dead bullock (young bull) floating down river. He thought to himself, "What a great feast!" He landed and sank his talons deep into the carcass and began to feed on it. He thoroughly enjoyed the feast and was unwilling to let it go. He thought that he had plenty of time to withdraw. He continued to eat. He decided that he would let go at the last minute. Not long after that he was approaching the falls. He tried to fly away. However, he was in for a rude awakening when he found that his feet were frozen to the carcass. In the end, he fell with the carcass. (Paraphrased: Chaplain Forest D. Davies. Biblical Prisoners. Duluth: Priory Books, 1988, pp. 1-2).
You see, too often we get so embraced with the worlds way of life, we lay aside our Christian values and convictions, incorporating worldly habits and desires. Often we think we're being a Christian witness, when all the time we've jumped on the bandwagon, because it was appealing. And just like that eagle, we find out at some point, that we've got our talons frozen to the carcass, and we can't escape. I encourage you today, to choose to serve the Lord with all your heart, all your mind and all your might. Don't put off till tomorrow what you can do today. Be a doer of the Word.
Pastors Michael & Ginny Gulotta
Pro. 11:25 "The generous soul will be made rich, And he who waters will also be watered himself."