Give It To God

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Each day has enough worries of its own.

We have a unique ability to carry yesterday’s worries and make them our problems of today.

Even worse, we can get caught up in a cycle of fearing what may or may not happen in the future. We dwell on “what ifs”.

What if this happens or what if that happens.

In doing this, we lose our joy, our peace, our ability to fully love and serve those around us. We cannot possibly be the version of ourselves which God has called us to be.

This is the enemy’s trap.

The enemy comes to “steal, kill and destroy”.

If the enemy can get you to dwell on the past or live in fear of what may happen in the future then you cannot possibly enjoy the present. Instead you are stuck in a loop of hypothetical scenarios playing out in your mind that may not be true and may never actually happen.  Meanwhile, the enemy is stealing and destroying your joy and peace. He is killing your hope and ability to be the image of Christ in the lives of those who are connected to you.

By failing to live in the present, others miss out on the great gift of YOU and you miss out on living the life which God has blessed you with, to its fullest.  You miss out on truly enjoying the people God has placed in your life as well as your ability to enjoy the fullness of God, His great love, joy, peace, guidance and comfort.

Doing this burdens us. It is crippling.

Doing this, long term, can cause us to fall into depression, anxiety and stress.

So how can we appropriately manage our restless hearts and minds? What should we do when we feel burdened, depressed, anxious, stressed …?  Surely the Bible must provide some guidance! If this was what you were thinking then well done! You are right.

The Bible does guide us so here are some things to remember:

  • God cares for you.
  • God wants you to give Him your anxiety and burdens. He doesn’t want you to hold on to it to try to figure things out by yourself.
  • You are not alone! God is your help.
Cast all your anxiety on him, because He cares for you. (1 Peter 5:7)

Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand. (Isaiah 41:10)

  • God wants you to go to Him.
  • He does not want you burdened.
  • He wants you to give Him your burdens.
  • God can handle your burden so don’t think  God is busy dealing with other people’s problems; He wants yours as well!
  • In exchange for your problems, God will give you rest.
Come to me, all you that are weary and are carrying heavy burdens and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me; for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light. (Matthew 11:28-30)
  • God will work it out.
We know that all things work together for good for those who love God, who are called according to his purpose (Romans 8:28)
  • Think the best!

 

 

 

  • Hope the best.
Finally, beloved, whatever is true, whatever is honourable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is pleasing, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence and if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. (Philippians 4:8)

Love hopes all things (1 Corinthians 13)

  • The Lord will provide all of your needs.

 

And my God will fully satisfy every need of yours according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 4:19)

 

  • No matter, God is with you.
  • God will bring you through it.
It is the Lord who goes before you. He will be with you; He will not fail you or forsake you. Do not fear or be dismayed.” (Deuteronomy 31:8-9)

God is our refuge and strength, a very present help in trouble (Psalm 46:1)

These are only a handful of verses showing God’s faithfulness and love.

To be able to rest in the Lord, we need learn to trust in the Lord.  The only way we can build this trust in Him is by knowing Him. The only way we can get to know Him is by actually spending time with Him. We need to be active about spending time with God and pursuing Him so that He can not only lead us to life but teach how to live this life and prepare us for the life to come!

PRAYER
Lord I thank you for your faithfulness. Help me to know that In You I Find Rest. Teach me to cast my cares onto you without trying to pick them back up. I trust you to work out every situation for my good. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

What Do You Strive For?

Seek the Kingdom
But strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. (Matthew 6:33)

Matthew 6:25-34 teaches us not to worry about our worldly needs but instead to “strive first for the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”.

Other translations use the word “seek” instead of “strive”. To “seek” is to pursue, to search for, to try and find but to “strive” is to struggle, to endeavor, to go all out. We must be active in our pursuit but do we actually pursue God? Do we go all out to draw close to Him? Do we allow ourselves to struggle in our pursuit for His Kingdom and His righteousness or do we just give up when the going gets tough?

Too often, we like comfort. We don’t like to be uncomfortable. But to pursue God means we need to step out of comfort zone and learn to be comfortable in our discomfort. God will meet us in our discomfort and give us peace if we first meet Him there.

The place of calling is not the place of comfort.

Do you think it was comfortable for Jesus to preach the Word of God amongst those who hated Him? Those who would later persecute and forsake Him? Do you think it was comfortable for Jesus when all His disciples (but one) abandoned Him as He hung dying on the cross, His most darkest and lowest moment? Was it comfortable for Jesus to be spat on, mocked, tortured and hung on a cross for our sins when He was completely innocent and perfect in every sense. No. He stepped out of His comfort zone and three days later, He defeated death, rose from the grave and brought new and everlasting life to anyone who desires to be children of God. An invitation for all humanity.

God is calling you out of your comfort zone.

Your response will depend on what you strive for.

To be able to strive for God, His Kingdom and His righteousness, God must be in His rightful place in your heart. FIRST. That is the rightful place of God in our lives, He must be FIRST.

Who is seated on the throne of your heart? Who or what rules over your life?

Remember there is only one throne and you cannot have two masters. You will either hate the one and love the other, or be devoted to the one and despise the other.

Maybe you’ve been sitting on the throne and it’s time to get off.  Letting Go of the Wheel and giving up control over your life is trusting God. It’s time to get out of the driver’s seat and let Jesus take control to lead and direct your life.

We must get our priorities right. Are you in order? It’s a costly decision to put anything or anyone in the throne of our heart that is not God. Only he can heal, renew, strengthen and satisfy. Nothing else can truly fulfil the desires of our hearts which is why we end up empty every time we fill ourselves up on anything that is not God. So Are you TOO Full, on something other then God? It’s time to go to Christ to empty you, fill you and lead you to life.

PRAYER
Dear God,
Thank you for always pursuing me and never giving up on me. Thank you for your unfailing love. I ask that you give me a renewed hunger and desire for you that I may actively pursue you, your Kingdom and your righteousness. Lord, help me to kick off anyone (including myself)  or anything who is currently sitting on the throne of my heart. I freely give that seat to you and choose you to reign as King over my life. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

 

 

 

It’s Within Your Reach

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Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change (James 1:17)

When a child sees something they want, they generally make every effort to reach out and grab for it…often to the frustration of their parents. They are determined.  As adults, our willingness to “reach out” seems to be on the decline with a sense of entitlement on the incline. We want every good thing to be handed to us and placed in our hands. We don’t want to move to action, we just want to receive.

God is a good Father who gives His children good gifts. But God doesn’t always place these directly into our hands. He often places them within our reach.

Matthew teaches us in Chapter 7, verses 7-8 to

Ask, and it will be given you; search, and you will find; knock, and the door will be opened for you. For everyone who asks receives, and everyone who searches finds, and for everyone who knocks, the door will be opened.

Before receiving, there is FIRST a call to action. Ask. Search. Knock.

THEN there is response. Receive. Find. The door is opened.

  • Would you get mad at someone for not getting you something you never asked for?No, you didn’t ask for it.
  • Would you be annoyed if no one opened the door for you despite standing there for hours? No. You should have knocked.
  • Would be bothered if you didn’t find something you were never looking for? No. You were not looking for anything.

We constantly have God’s attention but may never bother to communicate with Him. Why do we expect to receive from God without asking, seeking, and acting?

Only when we ask, search and knock can we then receive, find and have the door opened to us.

God has placed His love, grace, peace, joy, mercy, forgiveness and salvation all within our reach but it is still up to us to:

  1. Use our mind to contemplate our choices
  2. Use our will to freely decide how we will act and
  3. Use our body to then act according to what we have decided.

It is a call and response relationship that requires action.

Here are few other instances of this pattern in the Bible:

Verse Call to Action Response
Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need (Hebrews 4:16) Approach the throne of grace with boldness Receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need
Draw near to God and God will draw near to you. (James 4:7-8) Draw near to God God will draw near to you.
Faith comes by hearing the Word of God (Romans 10:17) Hear the Word of God. Grow in Faith.
If we confess our sins, He who is faithful and just will forgive us our sins and cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9) Confess our sins. Receive forgiveness.
If you then, who are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good things to those who ask him! (Matthew 7:11) Ask God. Receive from God.
You ask and do not receive, because you ask wrongly, in order to spend what you get on your pleasures (James 4:3) Ask God RIGHTLY. Receive from God.

All these things we must do with right intent before God (James 4:3; 1 John 5:14) seeking first the giver not the gift (1 Corinthians 12-16)

God has not placed any good thing outside of our reach. God wants us to use our intellect to discern His will and then act by faith. Often, we are busy waiting for God to drop down His blessings into our laps or place it into our hands. We must act. Ask, seek, knock and keep knocking! God will answer but we must first reach out to receive.

PRAYER

Dear God, help me to come before you with a right heart to seek you. Give me patience as I wait on your answers. Help me to be still and to not run ahead of you if it seems like you’re not responding. I trust you and know that you will take care of me. I thank you Lord. In Jesus’ name, Amen.  

 

Your Gift Has a Purpose

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Every generous act of giving, with every perfect gift, is from above, coming down from the Father of lights, with whom there is no variation or shadow due to change. (James 1:17)

A phone, by design, is a neutral object. It is not “good” or “bad”.

What brings it into a category of good or bad is the way we use it.

A phone can be used to:

  • Read the Bible
  • Listen to worship music
  • Connect with friends and family no matter the distance
  • Share Christ with others through social media
  • Locate each other

The same phone can be used to:

  • Bash and bully others with our words via text and social media
  • Post inappropriate photos, words and images
  • Hurt others
  • Access porn
  • Stalk and harass people

The phone itself is not good or bad but the way we use it can cause it to fall into a category of “good” or “bad”. This is where free will comes in.

Every good and perfect gift comes from above. God has given us each gifts and talents. He has given us so many good things but the way we use and share them with others is up to us.

Through our choices we either glorify God or we dishonour Him.

Your gifts have a purpose and the foundation of that purpose is to honour God, to bring glory to Him and to bring others closer to Him. You see it’s not just about it. Your gift was never just for you.

If God has gifted you with a beautiful singing voice but you choose to sing songs full of violence and swearing, you abuse the gift.

If God has given you the ability to bring people together yet you bring people together to gossip and slander others, you abuse the gift.

If God has given you the ability to speak eloquently yet you spend your time in meaningless quarrels, you abuse the gift.

There is a right way of using the gifts God has given us. What has God gifted you with?

PRAYER

Dear Lord, please help me to use the gifts you have given me to bring glory to you. Forgive me for all the ways I have abused your gifts and reveal my errors to me. Let my path be straight and your will be done. In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Are You In Order?

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Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. (James 4:7)

You may be falling into sin simply because you are out of order.

The Bible tells us to “Resist the devil, and he will flee from you” but the line immediately preceding this says, “Submit yourselves therefore to God”.

This means before we can resist the devil, we must submit to God. We cannot resist the devil without submitting to God.  We must first do step 1 before we can do step 2 so my question is, are you in order? Meditate on the steps below and ask God for wisdom and knowledge to deepen and widen your understanding. Set time aside to spend with God in prayer, conversation and in His Word.

Getting into Order

Step 1. Submit to God

You need to voluntarily rank beneath God and accept His will not your own. You need to die to yourself daily and surrender your life to God. You no longer live to satisfy yourself and your desires but to please God and to do what He asks of you. This is called “waking by the Spirit”. It is when we are connected to God and move as He directs us.

And those who belong to Christ Jesus have crucified the flesh with its passions and desires. If we live by the Spirit, let us also be guided by the Spirit. (Galatians 5:24-25)

As believers, we have a mission to walk by the Spirit. We can tell if we are walking by the Spirit if we see the “fruits” of the Spirit which include:

“..love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control(Galatians 5:22-23)

However, the works of the flesh are obvious:

“..fornication, impurity, licentiousness, idolatry, sorcery, enmities, strife, jealousy, anger, quarrels, dissensions, factions, envy, drunkenness, carousing, and things like these. Those who do such things will not inherit the kingdom of God(Galatians 5:19-21).

It is not only important but critical that we learn to live by the Spirit and not the flesh. When we live by the Spirit, we do not gratify the desires of the flesh (Galatians 5:16).

Step 2. Resist the devil

Once we are submitted to God and walking by the Spirit, then we are in a position of strength where we can “resist the devil”. It’s not a sin to be tempted. We are all tempted. Sin is birthed when we start entertaining temptation and breathing life into. Sin is given full effect when we cave in and give in to temptation.

Temptation is often a temporary suffering in the flesh.

“A silly idea is that good people do not know what temptation means. This is an obvious lie. Only those who try to resist temptation know how strong it is… A man who gives in to temptation after five minutes simply does not know what it would have been like an hour later. That is why bad people, in one sense, know very little about badness. They have lived a sheltered life by always giving in.”  (C.S Lewis, Mere Christianity)

We must do our best to endure temptation as it will pass. To “resist” is not a one-off attempt to try not to sin. We must enforce God’s Word and it’s authority (even speaking it out loud!). God has given believer’s authority over all power of the enemy according to Luke 10:19 which says

See, I have given you authority to tread on snakes and scorpions, and over all the power of the enemy; and nothing will hurt you.

The enemy fears the Word of God because it contains the means to overcome his tactics and foil, expose and bring to nothing Satan’s mission to steal, kill, and destroy (John 10:10). Indeed, even the demons believe in the Word of God – and tremble (James 2:1).

The Word of God is powerful. It is your spiritual sword. Hebrews 4:12 tells us

the word of God is living and active, sharper than any two-edged sword, piercing until it divides soul from spirit, joints from marrow; it is able to judge the thoughts and intentions of the heart”

If you fail, repent and try again seeking wisdom in the Word of God.Remember, Jesus sympathizes with us. He knows what it’s like to suffer in the flesh when we are tempted. He, Himself, was tempted in every way but He did not sin. So He must be source of advise and guidance that we run to in order to learn how to overcome the temptations we face.

“For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who in every respect has been tested as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore approach the throne of grace with boldness, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need(Hebrews 4:15-16)

God’s got your back and He will help you through it, just ask Him! Don’t let fear or shame hold you back. Go to Him boldly and He will give you mercy and grace.

Step 3.  The devil will flee

The enemy cannot withstand the power and authority of God. Satan is a defeated foe (Isaiah 14:12; Philippians 2:9-11). We just need to enforce our God given authority. Satan is a temporary nuisance to those walking with God but a real threat to those still coming to God. Pray for one another.

Step 4. Repeat steps 1-3

There is power, protection and blessing in walking by the Spirit with God. You can do all things through Him who gives you strength. Keep going. Keep trying. God will get you to where you need to be. He will strengthen  and equip you with everything you need. Your job is to pray, to spend time with Him and to learn to recognise His voice. God is patient and He’s got you in the palm of His hand.

PRAYER
Dear God, Search me and correct any wrong way in me. If I am out of order, please show me and teach me your ways. Give me the willpower to die to myself and submit to you, the strength to  resist the devil and the love to sincerely and aggressively pray for others. In Jesus’ Almighty name, Amen.