Category Archives: Called to Life

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.  

 

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.

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!