God’s Craftsmanship: The Masterpiece

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For we are God’s masterpiece. He has created us anew in Christ Jesus, so we can do the good things he planned for us long ago” (Ephesians 2:10).

Knitting can be an intricate task that requires an eye for detail. It can produce beautiful works. Exhibit A – go look in the mirror. God knit you together in your mother’s womb (Psalm 139:13). Before He formed you in the womb He knew you, before you were born He set you apart (Jeremiah 1:5). You are wonderfully and fearfully made (Psalm 139:14).

You are God’s masterpiece (Ephesians 2:10).

But here’s the thing, sin taints the masterpieces we are. It causes God’s purpose in us to become distorted, stained and defiled. For this reason, Christ came into the world to wash our sins “white as snow” (Isaiah 1:18). He came to undo the effects of sin and He succeeded.

Our sins are washed white when we become a new creation in Christ by:

  1. Deciding we no longer desire to live in sin (yes, it’s a choice);
  2. Accepting Jesus Christ as our Lord and Saviour and acknowledging Him as the Son of God who died, was buried and rose again;
  3. Accepting the free gift of forgiveness and salvation offered through Jesus Christ.

Our slate is wiped clean. If anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! (2 Corinthians 5:17).

Now comes the best-but-not-so-easy part!

Trees are pruned by cutting away the dead or overgrown branches or stems to support growth. God needs to prune us from all the dead things attached to us and the things that stop us from growing into the image of Christ. This can be a difficult, even painful process but fear not, God is HEALER. Once He prunes the trees in your garden, even uproots some that shouldn’t have been planted there, He will heal the ground and get to work building upon the right foundation.

When we surrender all aspects of our life to God, God can work at full capacity to help us get rid of anything that is not like Him and teach us in His ways.

When an artist begins painting an image, it’s not always clear what it is or what it will be. There’s a brushstroke here, some paint over there. We don’t have the full picture but we can see something is happening. Something that requires patience, determination and effort.

Similarly, when God is at work in us, it’s not always clear what God is doing in us and that’s where we need to develop our faith and trust in God – that even though we don’t understand and can’t see the full picture, we trust Him.

And again, like the painting, the transformation of our lives requires patience, determination and effort. It doesn’t happen all at once. Imagine if you were moved from one country to another or one career to another without any notice. It would be overwhelming and confusing. We wouldn’t be able to process it all and God knows this. Instead, God works quietly and patiently within us. He gently invites us to change and to spend time with Him, getting to know Him and His ways through His Word. It’s an invitation we choose to accept or reject.

Finding our new identity and purpose in Christ requires our obedience to what God desires. God is faithful and just. He will never leave or abandon us and nothing can separate us from His love.

There is a version of ourselves, our true selves in Christ that we do not want to miss out on meeting. The closer we draw to Christ, the closer Christ draws to us.

Dear friends, now we are children of God, and what we will be has not yet been made known. But we know that when Christ appears, we shall be like him, for we shall see him as he is. (1 John 3:2)

It all starts with a choice. Have you made yours?

PRAYER

Heavenly Father, help me to trust you even when things don’t make sense. Show me all the ways in me that are not like you. I choose you and I give my life to you. I ask for a heart and mind like yours. Help me to see things from heaven’s perspective and not my own.
In Jesus name, Amen.

 

Posted in Seeking God

Sound the Alarm

Sound the Alarm

Mark 1:11-13
And a voice came from heaven: “You are my Son, whom I love; with you I am well pleased.” At once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness, and he was in the wilderness forty days, being tempted by Satan.

When we sin, we damage the relationship we have with God. God is good and perfect and He cannot associate with anything that is not. Because God so loved the world, He sent His only son, Jesus, to die on the cross and to bear the punishment for all sins committed, being committed and that will ever be committed by mankind. Jesus lived a perfect life and although He was tempted in every way, just as we are, He did not sin (Hebrews 4:15).  Through Jesus, God gave humanity an example by which to live by and a way to be reconciled back to Him when they sin. Through Jesus, our relationship with God can be healed, restored and strengthened through the forgiveness of sins, when we accept Christ as our saviour and the free gift of salvation which He offers.

Because the consequence of sin is death, Christ was manifested so we might have life, and have it to the full (John 10:10). God not only wants us to have eternal life but to live our present lives to the full whereas Satan comes only to “steal, kill and destroy” (John 10:10).

Satan wants us separated from God.  When we choose to live in sin, Satan tends not to bother us because we are doing his job for him. We are slaves of the one we obey—whether we are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness (Romans 6:16).  By being Satan’s slave, he gets to sit back and chill while we mess up our salvation.

God does not give up on us. He never leaves or forsakes us (Hebrews 13:5). He is always patiently waiting for us to turn back to Him and when we do, He is ready, willing and able to forgive, heal and restore. To make us new and give us a purpose and identity in Christ… to become children of God.

Satan’s alarm bells really start to go off when we decide that we no longer want to live in our sin but desire to live for God. We see in Mark 1: 11-13, that Jesus was baptised and at once the Spirit sent him out into the wilderness to be tempted by Satan. For a believer, baptism demonstrates the ultimate and initiating acceptance of Christ and faith in God. When we accept Christ, we become a target for Satan because Satan doesn’t sit idly by while our relationship with God develops and flourishes. Satan has a nervous breakdown and will fight to keep us separated.

Satan’s spiritual attacks will be any and all attempts to keep us separated from God. But God is good, faithful and all powerful. He works all things for the good of those who love him (Romans 8:28). In fact, we should celebrate when the enemy tries to come against us because this is our chance to show the world that we have a heavenly Father who is with us. James 1 tells us to consider it pure joy when we face trials because the testing of our faith produces perseverance and perseverance allows us to grow in spiritual maturity. James 1:3 says “If any of you lacks wisdom, you should ask God, who gives generously to all without finding fault, and it will be given to you”

While the enemy plans to destroy, God will use the attack to bless us and to deepen our faith and trust in Him.

What we need to do is learn to:

  1. Identify the attacks
  2. Understand our God given authority and power over the enemy
  3. Not only overcome sin but destroy its power in our lives

When we lean on God for wisdom and understanding, God will show us how to accomplish these things. It won’t happen instantly so work patiently with God. The Holy Spirit is our teacher who will lead and teach us (John 14:26; 1 John 2:27; Nehemiah 9:20).

PRAYER

Dear God, I accept your free gift of salvation which you freely offered in the sacrifice of your only son, Jesus. I confess and repent of my sins known and unknown. I renounce the enemy and rebuke any connection I have had to anything that was not of you. Help me to grow in spiritual maturity and fill me with your Holy Spirit that I may know your ways which are good and perfect. I thank you ahead of time Lord because I know you are faithful and just to forgive and that you provide every good thing for your children. In Jesus name, Amen.
Posted in Alive for Christ, Called to Life, Seeking God

Clean the pipes: The Free Flow of God

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…whoever drinks of the water that I will give him shall never thirst; but the water that I will give him will become in him a well of water springing up to eternal life. (John 4:14)

God’s intention to use you is not for you alone.

It’s for who He can reach through you.

His spirit goes out into the world looking for someone who He can use. Can God use you?

It’s about selflessly giving your life to God to use to bring lost souls closer to salvation. To save lives by giving life.  God wants all people to be saved and to come to a knowledge of the truth (1 Timothy 2:3-4; 2 Peter 3:9). This is the Good News! That Christ died and paid the price for sin and so we are not bound by death but will be raised to life in Jesus Christ if we accept this free gift.

Can you surrender all aspects of your life to God?

In Matthew 14:13-21, Christ multiplied 5 loaves of bread and 2 fish to feed 5000 men. After everyone had eaten there were still baskets full of leftovers. In God’s hands, little becomes much and God not only uses us to bless others but the blessings overflow in our own lives.

We need to make room for God to work and flow through us. We start this by fixing our mind on God and denying ourselves. We need to take up our cross daily by crucifying our flesh along with its sinful desires. Anything that is not of or from God ultimately serves to defile us. To be defiled is to damage the purity or desecrate the sacredness of something Holy. We are called to Holy living. To be Holy as God is Holy (1 Peter 1:15-16). Without holiness no one will see the Lord. (Hebrews 12:14). Sin is ugly. It hurts and defiles us, hurts others, stops us from being fully used by God and above all, hurts God (Matthew 25:40). This is why  sin needs to be killed daily. Only then can we fix our mind on doing God’s will instead of our own.

We are trying to  become more like Jesus who, although tempted in every way just as we are, He did not sin (Hebrews 4:15). His mind was centred on doing the will of His Father.

To be ready for God to use us for every good work, we must be prepared.  God will equip us with everything we need to do His will (Hebrews 13:20-21).  But first, we must know the will of God. It is set out in the Word of God (the Bible) so we need to spend time with God and in His Word.

We can then, through the Holy Spirit, come to an understanding of God’s desires and know what displeases Him. In gaining wisdom, we can remove those things in our life that do not line up with God’s desire and that do not glorify Him as these things limit God’s ability to flow freely through us. It is like trying to get clean, pure water to flow through pipes that are clogged up. HAIRBALLS. If we’re too clogged up with sin, worldly passions or constant distraction from God then where is the room for God to flow?

We must purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God (2 Corinthians 7:1). Sin causes us to get clogged up whether it is know or unknown. Pray to God to reveal the sin that needs to be repented of or any behaviour or way of thinking that needs to be changed. We might need to change the music we listen to, the shows we watch or the people we spend time with. The point is, expect changes.

God loves you. He will take you as you are but He loves you too much to leave you that way. God doesn’t want you trapped in a mindset that stresses you or causes constant fear. God doesn’t want you to be easily angered or unforgiving because this hinders your relationship with Him. Whatever the case may be, God will change you for your good and for His glory.

The Holy Spirit will nudge changes in your life. You have the choice of implementing these changes. Your life will be transformed, generally not all at once, but into something beautiful. You must learn to trust God even when things don’t make sense. To do this, you must build confidence in Him by reading His Word, growing in understanding of God’s faithfulness and then recognising this faithfulness in your life. It won’t be an obstacle free journey but God’s peace surpasses all understanding and will guard your heart and mind (Philippians 4:7). It will wrap around you like a warm hug (but it’s even better!).

Now be serious. You can’t welcome God in your life and not expect your life to be transformed, turned upside down and redesigned by Him. He doesn’t want to be that friend you message every now and then when you need something. If He is being welcomed in your heart, He will take over.

He is the sovereign, all powerful creator, the King of Kings.

Revere in His goodness, glory and power. Thank Him for His great love and tender mercy towards us mere mortals who can never deserve the gifts He has so freely given.

Pay attention to all God has done FOR you but don’t miss out on discovering what God can do THROUGH you. Let God flow through you so you may be a well of water springing up to eternal life not just for yourself but for all others. The Good News is here.

Thank you Father God.

Posted in Alive for Christ, Called to Life, Seeking God

It’s Already Written

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Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will never pass away. (Matthew 24:35)

If you buy a DVD and decide not to watch it, it does not change how the movie begins or ends.

It is already written and produced. Ignorance will not alter the ending either.

Same goes for the Bible. We are simply going through the motions of a story already written. Jesus has won. Satan is defeated. King Jesus forever.

In the meantime, we have the choice to either honour or dishonour God. To choose to live for God or condemn ourselves by our choices. We first condemn ourselves by rejecting God through sin and ignoring the Holy Spirit’s attempt to draw us to repentance and back to God.

God is good.

I repeat, God is GOOD. He is faithful even when we are faithless. This is His nature and He cannot deny who He is (2 Timothy 2:13). That means no matter what you’ve done or failed to do, if you return to God with your whole heart, He is ready, willing and able to not only take you back but to help you clean the mess you’ve made. Because, let’s be honest, sin is messy. It messes with our mind, our heart, our spirit, our relationships, our life!

Things eventually fall out of place (and apart) when they are not in line with the Will and desire of God.

So don’t ignore that feeling that tells you something is not right. Spend time with God and in His Word so you can discern what is and is not of God. Ask Him to reveal the truth to you.

Returning to God means He can restore. Often, God needs to tear down everything you’ve built up so He can make way for the grand plans He has for your life (which are way better then where you were going with it anyway!). So be patient, after you have suffered a little while, God will himself restore you and make you strong, firm and steadfast (1 Peter 5:10).

God is faithful and He will help you work through every struggle. So, when you fall short of God’s glory, dust yourself off and keep trying.  The Kingdom of Heaven is near so work with God to prepare yourself. If we are not with God, we are against Him. The Battle against Evil has already been won. Our job is make sure we are on the winning side because the ending that was written from the beginning will come to pass and for the Children of God, the end is just the beginning.

You are called to be a child of the Most High God. Give the Lord some praise!

Posted in Called to Life, Forgiveness, The Battle

The Next Step

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Whoever comes to me I will never drive away (John 6:37)

God is calling us to come to Him. No matter what our state or the messes we may be. We go as we are but we cannot expect to stay that way.

God will change us. He may change what we watch, listen to, eat or who we spend time with. He will break  and prune us to remove our wickedness and show us what is not of Him so we can step up and keep growing into His image. Basically,  God needs to knock down anything that we have added to ourselves that is not of Him and that ultimately defiles us.

Through this process of change, God draws us back from the detour we have taken away from Him and re-routes our lives for heaven. God is re-routing us back to the fullness of His blessing, comfort, healing, peace, security and joy, which the world cannot take away. He will help change us so we can become useful to Him for every good work.

Is the Holy Spirit nudging a change in your life? Are you listening?

God has specific instructions for each person. So if the Holy Spirit is nudging you in a particular direction, don’t expect step 2 until you complete step 1. We need to act by faith and not by sight and often walking by faith does not make sense. But where rationalising begins, faith ends.

We must be willing to take that step of faith and trust that God is already there and has made the way clear. After all, He works out all things for the good of those who love Him.

PRAYER

Dear God, please make your instruction clear to me. Show me what I need to change or remove from my life so that I can be more like you. Remove everything that has caused distance in my relationship with you. Teach me in your ways. I thank you for your patience, forgiveness and unfailing love. In Jesus name, Amen. 
Posted in Called to Life, Seeking God