A Relationship with Jesus

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See what love the Father has given us, that we should be called children of God; and that is what we are. The reason the world does not know us is that it did not know him.  (1 John 3:1)

The first step to having a relationship with Jesus is to choose Him. To say “God I want all of YOU and none of me. I surrender my life to you.”  

In a world that distracts us even blinds us from God we often don’t ask ourselves if we have really given our life to God. The disturbing truth is most of us haven’t. That’s why the road to life is narrow and few find it (Matthew 7:14). Only by surrendering to God, can He work through us and show us the path to life.

God does not force us to accept Him. We must choose Him. That’s why He gave us free will.  We either accept God and submit to Him OR we submit to the enemy. By our choices, we condemn ourselves to death or we are saved by God’s grace and set aside for Him.

Now, some of you may stop reading this or even stop seeking God because you don’t want to hear the truth. Why? Because you are comfortable in your sin. Because you want to keep watching that TV show that’s ungodly, or keep listening to that music that’s offensive or keep going to places that give birth to sin. But when God sets you aside, you need to live by HIS standards. The Holy Spirit WILL NOT let you live like the world because you do not belong to it.

Let’s make it clear. There are two choices. There is nothing in between. “You are slaves of the one you obey-whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness” (Romans 6:16).

Here’s the amazing part. The result of choosing to be slaves to God is that He honours us, protects us, loves us, blesses us and makes us His children and heirs in His kingdom. “Because you are his sons, God sent the Spirit of his Son into our hearts, the Spirit who calls out, “Father.” So you are no longer a slave, but God’s child; and since you are his child, God has made you also an heir.” (Galatians 4:6-7).  We see that once we receive the Holy Spirit, we can become children of God.

Are you ready to surrender your whole life to God?

I don’t mean saying a quick 30 second prayer (if that!) before you sleep. We can’t divide our life and give some time to God, some to work, some to study and keep parts to ourselves. “The idea is to live all our lives in the presence of God, under the authority of God, and for the honour and glory of God” (R.C. Sproul).

With You

Love with You
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.    (John 1:1)

God is with you.

It is important to know this because you won’t always feel it.

Having faith means we cannot be led by what we feel but by what we know and what we know comes from the truth found in God’s Word.

We are reminded constantly that God is with us, that He will never leave or forsake us and that nothing can separate us from His love.

Even in times of trouble, we are not abandoned.

We will face troubles in this life (John 16:33) and when we do, we have a safe place to go to.

 The LORD is a refuge for the oppressed, a stronghold in times of trouble. Those who know your name trust in you, for you, LORD, have never forsaken those who seek you (Psalm 9:9-10) 

For in the day of trouble He will keep me safe in his dwelling; He will hide me in the shelter of His sacred tent and set me high upon a rock (Psalm 27:5)

 …because the name of the LORD is a fortified tower; the righteous run to it and are safe (Proverbs 18:10)

 The Lord will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart (Psalm 91:4)

 Whoever dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. They will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress, my God, in whom I trust (Psalm 91:1-2)

The Lord is our haven, our strong tower which we can run into.

We run into Him by calling on His name, seeking Him diligently in prayer, fasting, the Sacraments and ultimately by spending time with Him and in His presence.

Our lives are no surprise to God and He promises to not only be with us but to lead and guide our lives if we so choose.

PRAYER

Dear God,

I thank you for always being with me. I don’t always feel you, but I know you are always at work in my life. I pray that you help me to live a life led by your truth which does not change and not by my feelings which are ever changing. You are good and faithful desiring only the best for my life. You are all I want.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

Love Your Enemies

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But I say to you, Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you (Matthew 5:44)

Not everyone will like you.

As humans, we tend to judge and categorize people.

We cast them away, write them off and give them as much value as a speck of dust.

Perhaps you don’t do this but maybe you’ve experienced it.

In the midst of this, it remains your choice as to how you treat those who don’t like, or even hate, you.

The way you react reveals the true nature of your heart and speaks volumes about YOUR character.

Our human nature encourages us to respond in a like manner. To hate back. To gossip, slander and bash people with our words (often, behind their backs). This is an act of weakness.

To act divinely, that is, beyond our mere mortal nature, means we dig deep within ourselves and choose to love those who dislike or hate us.

“Wait, what?! How do you expect me to love someone who I hate or who hates me?”

This is not any easy thing to do which is why it is an act of strength that begins with a choice.

Make the decision first.

What kind of person do you choose to be?

Choose love, and the strength to grow into this genuine love will follow. Keep choosing, seeking and desiring love. God will meet you there and help equip you so that you can grow further into the image of Christ.

After all, Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that (Martin Luther King, Jr.).

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?

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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.