Saturday, January 25, 2014

The Presence of God

Where can I go from your Spirit?  Where can I flee from your presence?  If I go up to the heavens, you are there; if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.  If I rise on the wings of the dawn, if I settle on the far side of the sea, even there your hand will guide me, your right hand will hold me fast.  Psalm 139:7-10.

Hello dear friends.  I hope you are doing well.  Today I want us to reflect upon our spiritual awareness of God’s presence.  Do you recognize the presence of God in the normal routines of your life?  God is omnipresent.  He is present everywhere, even in the normal routines of life.  We need to acknowledge God’s presence and pay attention to the spiritual lessons He desires for us to learn. 

We look for God to reveal Himself during grandiose events, but we need to be aware that God   most often will reveal Himself to us in more intimate ways.  We have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ; therefore He desires to reveal Himself to us in a very personal way.  If we choose to only look for the presence of God during spectacular events, we will miss Him in our routine, everyday circumstances.  God has a plan and a purpose for our lives, but to understand that plan and purpose we must recognize His presence.  For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and  a future – Jeremiah 29:11.  I encourage you to not miss God’s glory in the normalcy of your everyday life. 

God has a unique calling upon each of our lives.  To be aware of our unique calling, we must be aware of the presence of our LORD.  God will provide us with the power and the strength we will need to fulfill His purpose and plan which He has for our lives.  Before understanding God’s unique calling upon our lives, we must recognize His presence in our lives.  We need to understand that in this season of life, God is preparing us for a unique purpose and plan we may not even recognize yet.  Ephesians 1:18-20 – I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in his holy people, and his incomparably great power for us who believe.  The power is the same as the mighty strength he exerted when he raised Christ from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms.

For some reason you may be attempting to hide from God.  God reveals in His Word that we can’t hide from Him.  Jeremiah 23:24 – “Who can hide in secret places so that I cannot see them?”  declares the LORD.  “Do not I fill heaven and earth?”  declares the LORD.  If there is sin in your life and you are trying to hide from God, know that you can come with a repentant heart to your Savior and LORD and He will forgive you.  God is always with us, keeping watch over us.  He knows what we need to carry out our unique calling and He will provide.  Please know that our LORD is watching over you.  The eyes of the LORD are everywhere, keeping watch on the wicked and the good – Proverbs 15:3.

Our LORD is with us each and every moment of the day.  Our LORD is with us during difficult seasons of life.  I pray whether you are in a season of life with things going well, or you are experiencing a difficult season of life, that you will acknowledge the presence of the LORD.  When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you.  When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.  For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior – Isaiah 43:2-3.  Seasons of difficulty will affect all of us.  These seasons of difficulty will either cause us to drown or cause us to grow stronger.  If we choose to go in our own strength we will drown but if we choose to go in the strength of the LORD, He will help us beyond measure. 

I encourage you today to seek God in the midst of your normalcy.  Acknowledge His presence as He leads and guides you in fulfilling your unique calling.  Take comfort in knowing – For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height or depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our LORD – Romans 8:38-39.

Dear Heavenly Father, thank You for Your presence in our lives.  Help us to be aware of Your presence.  Lord I pray that as we carry out the routines of our day that we will acknowledge that You are teaching us.  Help us to acknowledge the spiritual lessons You desire us to learn.  Thank You for the unique calling You have placed on each of our lives.  Provide us with the power and strength we will need to carry out Your calling.  In Jesus Name I Pray…..Amen.

Saturday, January 18, 2014

Your Sphere of Influence

In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.  Matthew 5:16

Hello friends.  Do you realize that you have a sphere of influence?  This is the group of people you come in contact with often.  The people you do life with.  It consist of your family, friends, church family, co-workers, etc.  Have you ever wondered what type of impact you are making upon these lives?  Whether we realize it or not, we are making a lasting impact upon the lives of others.  Friend, God has sovereignly placed you in your family, your job, etc.  Choose today to make an impact upon those in your sphere of influence which will have eternal rewards and benefits not only for you, but for those in your sphere of influence. 

God has graciously provided us with what we need to live a godly life, therefore we have no excuse.  How does your speech and conduct influence those in your sphere of influence?  Do you speak words of encouragement or words of discouragement?  Are those in your sphere of influence able to see that you love the LORD by your actions?  1 Timothy 4:12 – Don’t let anyone look down on you because you are young, but set an example for the believers in speech, in conduct, in love, in faith and purity.  We never truly know what is in the heart of those we encounter, so take the opportunity to inspire and encourage those in your sphere of influence.  Let your conversation be always full of grace, seasoned with salt, so that you may know how to answer everyone – Colossians 4:6.  Be gracious and respectful to those in your sphere of influence.  If we choose not to be courteous and kind, we will often destroy future opportunities to share Jesus with those in our sphere of influence. 

Friend, we must strive to bring honor to our Savior and LORD in every aspect and activity of daily living.   Those in our sphere of influence notice.  As a Christian, you and I represent Christ.  And whatever you do, whether in word or deed, do it all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through him – Colossians 3:17.  Ask yourself, what impression do those in my sphere of influence have of Jesus when they are with me? 

Study about Lot and you will discover he failed to have a positive impact on those in his sphere of influence.  Lot allowed his selfish desires to dictate how he made decisions and how he lived his life.  Lot exposed his family to evil and immorality.  In Genesis 13, when Abram and Lot separated, Lot chose to take his family and live among the cities of the plain near Sodom.  God reveals to us in His word – Now the people of Sodom were wicked and were sinning greatly against the LORD – Genesis 13:13.  Friend, be very careful what you expose your family to.  God has given us the responsibility to be actively involved in the spiritual health of our families.  Model for your families how to live for Christ and faithfully serve Him. 

Lot failed to have a godly impact on his sons-in-law.  When it was revealed to Lot that the town of Sodom was going to be destroyed he went out to speak with them.  So Lot went out and spoke to his sons-in-law, who were pledged to marry his daughters.  He said, “Hurry and get out of this place, because the LORD is about to destroy the city!”  But his sons-in-law thought he was joking – Genesis 19:14.  Lot began to blend in with the people of Sodom.  He was no longer a godly witness.  He had no effect on those in his sphere of influence.  Lot allowed his environment to shape him instead of him making a godly influence on his environment and his community.  Search your heart and ask yourself, am I blending in with my environment or am I making a godly impact on my environment and my community? 

Friend, are you sowing godly seeds into your sphere of influence?  Take this time to prayerfully examine your heart to determine what impact you are having on your family, friends, community, church, etc.  Remember, there may be some in your sphere of influence who do not have a personal relationship with Jesus.  Does your live point others to Jesus?

Dear Heavenly Father…..I pray that we that we will live our lives with a conscientious effort to make a godly impact on those in our sphere of influence.  I pray that our words and actions point others to You.  I pray that every word and deed will glorify You, Heavenly Father.  In Jesus Precious Name I Pray…..Amen. 

Saturday, January 11, 2014

God Speaks

“God will speak to the hearts of those who prepare themselves to hear; and conversely, those who do not so prepare themselves will hear nothing even though the Word of God is falling upon their outer ears every Sunday.”  A.W. Tozer

Hello dear friends.  Are you someone who anticipates hearing the voice of God?  When you have your quiet time with your Savior and LORD, do you wait expectantly to hear Him reveal a word to you?  Friend, God speaks to His children.  We must position ourselves to hear His voice.  I encourage you to anticipate hearing the voice of your Savior and LORD as you read His Word an as you bring your prayer request and concerns to Him. 

God reveals to us in Jeremiah 33:3 – Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.  Believe the truths and promises you read in God’s Word.  He is ready to answer our prayers and reveal His will to us, but in His perfect timing.  Wait expectantly to hear from Him.  Isaiah 58:9 – Then you will call, and the LORD will answer; you will cry for help, and he will say:  Her am I.

Could it be that we miss the voice of God when He is speaking to us?  Are you reading His Word sweet friend?  To hear the voice of God we must read His Word.  The indwelling Holy Spirit will nudge us and convict us, but God speaks to us through His Word.  I encourage you to commit to reading God’s Word each day and truly listening as He speaks to you.  All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness – 2 Timothy 3:16.  Psalm 19:7-8 provides us with wonderful truths about God’s Word.  The law of the LORD is perfect, refreshing the soul.  The statutes of the LORD are trustworthy, making wise the simple.  The precepts of the LORD are right, giving joy to the heart.  The commands of the LORD are radiant, giving light to the eyes.  God’s Word is perfect, refreshing, trustworthy, and revealing.  Why would we not take the time to read God’s Word and allow Him to speak to us?  There is really no good excuse.  I have come to realize the more I read God’s Word, the more I desire to read God’s Word and hear His voice.

We must realize and accept that God’s timing is not our timing.  When our LORD is not responding to us in the way we expect or in the timing we expect, we must not become discouraged.  We must hold on to our faith and know that even though God is silent in the moment, He is working.  In Habakkuk 1:2-4, the prophet Habakkuk revealed that he was becoming discouraged because God was not responding how he thought God should.  God revealed to Habakkuk that He was speaking and moving even when He seemed silent.  Look at the nations and watch – and be utterly amazed.  For I am going to do something in your days that you would not believe, even if you were told – Habakkuk 1:5.

I encourage you to truly believe that you will hear the voice of God.  Position yourself to hear the voice of God.  Charles Stanley said, “If we come to God doubting His ability to speak, we will have a difficult time listening.  So we must come expectantly.”

Dear Heavenly Father, I pray that we will anticipate hearing You speak to us.  Help us to place ourselves in a position to listen.  Father, I pray as we read and meditate on Your Holy Word that you will open our eyes to see the wonderful truths and promises found Your Word.  In Jesus Name I Pray…..Amen.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

Pursuing Spiritual Maturity

Like newborn babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good.  1 Peter 2:2-3

Happy New Year….2014 has arrived.  Are you making a New Year’s resolution?  This year I encourage you to make a choice to intentionally pursue spiritual maturity.  Decide to grow in a more intimate relationship with your LORD.  It is a choice.  We can continue to go about life as we always have or we can make a choice to pursue our Heavenly Father and His will like we never have before.  Why wouldn’t we want a closer relationship with someone who loves us with a never-ending, lavish love?  Our Savior and LORD desires to give us an abundant life.  Are you willing to take what He is offering?  The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full – John 10:10.  Choose not to live a life that is empty.  Choose to live a life full of meaning and blessings.

We will never come to a place where we need to stop pursuing spiritual maturity.  As you begin the year 2014 and choose to commit to pursuing spiritual maturity, ask yourself these questions.  How much time do I spend reading, studying, and mediating on God’s Word?  Has my relationship and dependency on God changed in the last few years?  How do I truly view my Savior and LORD?  You alone are the LORD.  You made the heavens, even the highest heavens, and all their starry host, the earth and all that is on it, the seas and all that is in them.  You give life to everything, and the multitudes of heaven worship you – Nehemiah 9:6. 

Pray and ask God to place in your heart a desire to read and to study His Word.  Ask God to reveal truth from His Word to you.  There may be things in your life that are hindering your relationship with your Heavenly Father.  Sometimes we know just what these things are.  These things must be removed if they are hindering a growing relationship with your Savior and LORD.  Ask for His help.  You do not have to do this alone.  You are incapable of doing this on your own.  Some things in your life you may not realize are hindering your growth toward spiritual maturity.  Ask God to reveal these things in your life that must be removed so that you can grow in a more intimate relationship with Him.  Whatever it is that is distracting you from your relationship with the LORD, must be dealt with. 

Friend, our LORD loves us and is devoted to us.  Now is the time to show our Savior and LORD we love Him and are devoted to Him and His will for our life.  We must abide in Him and we can’t do that without reading His Word and allowing Him to speak to us through His Word.  If we are pursuing spiritual maturity this should be our desire – Then we will no longer be infants, tossed back and forth by the waves, and blown here and there by every wind of teaching and by the cunning and craftiness of people in their deceitful scheming.  Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is Christ – Ephesians 4:14-15.

As you pursue spiritual maturity, surround yourself with others who have the same desire.  Interacting with other believers will spur us on to grow in our faith.  God reveals to us in His Word that He will use His church as an instrument of blessing, healing, and a place where He will abide.  Friends, believers are the body of Christ.  We are the church.  Gather with other believers and choose to pursue spiritual maturity.  Surround yourself with others who are thirsty for God and His Word.  Hebrew 10:24-25 – And let us consider how we may spur one another on toward love and good deeds, not giving up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but encouraging one another – and all the more as you see the Day approaching. 

So as the year 2014 begins, make the choice to grow toward spiritual maturity.  God promises you that you will not regret your decision.  He will bless you beyond measure, comfort you when needed, and strengthen you when you are weak.  He will provide you with all things you will need to continue your journey towards your Heavenly home.  And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work – 2 Corinthians 9:8.

Dear LORD, I pray that we will make the choice to pursue spiritual maturity.  Thank you LORD for providing us with what we will need.  Place a thirst and a hunger in our hearts and souls for the truth that is only found in Your Word.  Reveal to us Father, what is distracting us from an intimate relationship with You.  Help us to get rid of the distractions in our life.  I love You and praise You, LORD.  In Jesus Holy Name…..Amen