Category Archives: Alive for Christ

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.

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 bare 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 into our hearts, 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 harder 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 so we may be perfect and not lacking anything. 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 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.

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.

Answering the Call

Jesus is calling
No one can come to the Father unless the son calls them first (John 6:44).

This calling can be a gentle nudge in your spirit drawing you to God. But it’s up to you to answer that call; to fully accept Jesus as your Lord and Savior and to make the decision that you no longer live for yourself, to please others or to look like world but to live to glorify God.

It means you commit every aspect of your life to glorify Him. If going to a club doesn’t glorify Him, you don’t go. If listening to certain music doesn’t glorify Him, you stop listening to it. There’s going to be changes in your life that will change your life…for the better. Listening to and living the Word of God naturally means your life will be transformed and changed by it.

These changes won’t always make sense but that’s what faith looks like. It means making changes and being obedient even when things don’t make sense. Faith tends to end when we start trying to rationalize things. There is no longer any faith when we start rationalizing rather rationalizing is the human way of getting out of a divine request.

These changes are gradual and God is patient to work through our struggles with us. God often speaks to us quietly and nudges us for change gently. He doesn’t do it all at once and never overwhelms us. His gentleness gives us the opportunity to respond in love and faithfulness to Him. It remains a choice. We are never forced or under compulsion to do His will. But if we truly revere and love Him, then obedience will grow and develop if we keep seeking Him and asking for His help.

PRAYER

Dear God,
I can do nothing without you and I need you. I fail you more then I want to say but I know your grace is enough for me. Empty me of myself and fill me up with you. I want to grow further into the image of Jesus and grow distant from who I was yesterday. Work with me to make me the best version of myself so I can be the pleasing aroma of Jesus to you. In Jesus name, Amen.  

I’m built on the Rock

Jesus is my rock
..everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash (Matthew 7:24-27)

The construction of buildings intrigues me. The way a ground of nothingness can have a whole new purpose placed upon it. The way the old can be pulled down to make way for something new. Something grand. Whether it is a home for a family, a centre for children or a place of healing.

But sometimes we design dodgy buildings that aren’t legally approved. We throw in an extra wing here or a shed over there. We add things that should not have been added and sometimes even change or corrupt the purpose the building was intended for.

You are a living house. God’s craftsmanship.

But is God still the architect and continuing builder of your house or did you construct and re-purpose your house outside of God’s will?

A few indicators that perhaps you’ve taken over that job include feelings of:

Discontentment, dissatisfaction and emptiness. Because you’ve built what you thought would make you happy (you got that degree, that job, that car or relationship) but you still feel empty and incomplete.

Confusion. Because you can’t make sense of your purpose. The pieces don’t fit together. You built a childcare centre when God wanted to build a grand palace. You are not in alignment with God’s will.

Loneliness. Without God dwelling within your house, you experience a loneliness that no person, job, promotion or thing can fill. Only God can complete you. Only He can give you a content and joyful heart. Only He can give a sense of direction and purpose that is food for your soul and will drive your very being.

If you built your house and stop consulting God then maybe it’s time you let God tear it down and re-build it with a new purpose. His purpose.

The process of being torn down is not easy or pain free. But once He is done tearing down the shaky, unstable house that was eventually going to tumble, He will heal the ground and begin setting a new foundation or reminding you that He is your foundation. From there He can re-purpose you. No matter how broken you are, how much of a mess you have made of your life or how far you have strayed from God, He can still use you. He can still build you into a grand palace that He can dwell within and give a joy and peace that surpasses all understanding.

You are a temple of the Holy Spirit. This means God wants to come and live in you. You are His living house and He doesn’t want to dwell in no shabby little tent. He’s got big plans for your life. Much bigger and better then you can even imagine. The way you build your life on the foundation of Jesus is by hearing His words and putting them into practice.

So it’s time to fire yourself if you are the builder or architect of your house and call in the Expert who is deserving of everything you have to offer. Glory to the King forever and ever.