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What Matters Most To You?

What Matters Most To You?

Would you like to simplify your life and find greater satisfaction?

One thing that I admire about Jesus’ time here on earth is that He was laser focused. Nothing seemed to deter Him from His mission. He always knew what to do and what to say.

John 8:  28 So Jesus said, “When you have lifted up the Son of Man on the cross, then you will understand that I AM he. I do nothing on my own but say only what the Father taught me. 29 And the one who sent me is with me—he has not deserted me. For I always do what pleases him.”

I love that last sentence “For I always do what pleases him. ” Wow, I wish I could say that about myself, how about you? It is so easy for me to get distracted and eventually I find myself thinking, “Why am I watching this show?” or “How have I allowed myself to waste the last hour of my life reading a meaningless news article or just ‘spacing out’?” I know that I am not perfect and that I’ll always fall short in one way or another, but the more I’ve gotten to know God the more I’ve valued my time and realized that it is our most precious asset.

Our lives are so short and we can never get time back when it’s gone.

Psalm 103:
15 Our days on earth are like grass;
like wildflowers, we bloom and die.
16 The wind blows, and we are gone—
as though we had never been here.

I’d like to discuss some ways that might simplify our lives when it comes to making decisions. As true believers in God and in His Son, shouldn’t our main focus in life be on pleasing Him and spending eternity with Him? If this is true, then read how Jesus simplifies things for this expert:

Luke 10:  25 One day an expert in religious law stood up to test Jesus by asking him this question: “Teacher, what should I do to inherit eternal life?”
26 Jesus replied, “What does the law of Moses say? How do you read it?”
27 The man answered, “‘You must love the LORD your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your strength, and all your mind.’ And, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’”
28 “Right!” Jesus told him. “Do this and you will live!”

Can you imagine the expression on the expert’s face when Jesus gave him such a simple solution to this most important question? “Say what?, are you serious?” is what I think he thought to himself. But Jesus was serious. Of course, these are the two greatest commandments as found in Matthew 22:36-40 and Mark 12:30-31. That makes sense, doesn’t it? Focus on the two greatest commandments and we’ll be OK.

Although I’ve known these commandments, up until recently I never really knew how to love God, much less with my whole being.  Now the question becomes “How do I love God?”

How do we love anyone?

Hosea 6:
6 I want you to show love,
not offer sacrifices.
I want you to know me
more than I want burnt offerings.

 By getting to know them.

This is especially true with God. You know how there are certain people that the more you get to know them, the less you like them? That’s because you don’t see their true personality and character through a façade and all it takes is a brief look behind the curtain and their true essence appears.

But isn’t that each one of us? We put on our prettiest face and best manners in public, but behind closed doors, we may say and do things that we’d rather most people not know about.

This is not the case with God.

To know God is to love God.

The more I seek Him, read about Him, and know about Him the more I am in total awe of Him. I can’t help but love Him because of all the good things I’ve realized that He has done for me. He loves me so much that it’s really not fair. I have nothing to offer Him but praise and thankfulness. Who am I that He cares for me?

Those that have just started to get to know Him can only love God so much. Different people will love God in different measures and ways, this comes easier for some, yet harder for others. This depends on how they’ve learned to love in the past. Perhaps for those that were not blessed with a loving home when growing up, they might find it difficult to love God the most. These people have the greatest need for your prayers, I believe.

The key for all of us is to continue growing in Christ, which only leads to a deeper love for Him. This is wonderful indeed. The person who just came to the Lord today can say “I love the Lord with all my heart!” just as the person that has been diligently following Him for 30 years. It’s all the same in God’s eyes. He looks at the heart and as long as our heart is for Him, regardless of our knowledge, we are accepted by Him and can come boldly before Him.

Ephesians 3: 12 Because of Christ and our faith in him, we can now come boldly and confidently into God’s presence.

On this occasion, found in John 6: 26, people ask Jesus “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”. Jesus replies “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”

You can’t get much simpler than this.

This is sheer brilliance on God’s part. This will make some scholars look foolish. I say this because you can spend your entire life trying to study and figure out God by reading all the right books and going to all the lectures and not learn how to believe, love, or trust in God.

All we have to do is believe in Jesus, the Word. Believe is defined as “to have confidence in the assertions of (a person).”

How much confidence can we have in someone we barely know? Not much.

But if we get to know someone and spend time with them on a daily basis discovering more and more that they are trustworthy we can have great confidence (faith) in them. Do you get the idea?

I am convinced that if the Body of Christ took daily prayer and Bible reading (devotion to God) as serious as they take their secular employment and or ways to make a living, then we would have a vibrant and most powerful church. But we don’t. We have a church, at least in North America, that by and large does not know their God, which is evidenced by its weakness and lack of love for their neighbor.

Your relationship to God is no different than any other relationship you currently have, in that, the more time and attention you put into your relationship with God the more you will love God!

His greatest desire is that all of you will get to know and love all of Him. He had His only Son die for this to happen! Not only is this is in your best interest but it will satisfy you in ways you cannot imagine. This is the intimacy that He wants with you. This will lead you to greater works that only God can give you to do. This level of intimacy will lead you to burst out in song in the middle of a prayer just because you’ll be compelled to. When this happens you’ll know you’re on the right track.

In Jesus’ own words:

John 17: 20 “I am praying not only for these disciples but also for all who will ever believe in me through their message. 21 I pray that they will all be one, just as you and I are one—as you are in me, Father, and I am in you. And may they be in us so that the world will believe you sent me.

22 “I have given them the glory you gave me, so they may be one as we are one. 23 I am in them and you are in me. May they experience such perfect unity that the world will know that you sent me and that you love them as much as you love me. 24 Father, I want these whom you have given me to be with me where I am. Then they can see all the glory you gave me because you loved me even before the world began!

Will you join me in believing in Him?

“Thank you, heavenly Father! For you are too wonderful for me to comprehend! You give us life abundantly and I am only beginning to understand this. I am sorry that some days I do not spend the time with you that I could. I allow other things to get in the way and I’ve failed to recognize it when it happens. Please help me to put you first. Teach me to understand that you alone give me life and that my soul requires nourishment from you daily in order to grow. Will you help me get to know you more? Will you draw me closer to you? I want to love you as you’ve intended. Thank you in advance for teaching me and molding me so that I can be more like your Son, which will lead more people to you. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

Photo by Ryan Brisco on Unsplash



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If you desire a closer walk with Jesus, just want more fellowship or "Bible Time" come join us at TheBibleTeam.com. We have weekly calls where our sole focus is spending time in God's Word.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Have You Got Everything Figured Out Yet?

Have You Got Everything Figured Out Yet?

2 Opinions 3: 5 Blessed are those that have everything figured out or think they do.

Don’t try to look this verse up, it’s a joke!

Does life make sense to you? Are you still trying to figure how this planet works or have you given up by now?

Let’s face it, life is confusing at times. Sometimes, just when I think I have everything all figured out, everything turns upside down. Can you relate?

Should I blame God for this confusion? I don’t think so. I believe that mankind, generally speaking, has been guided by the devil, who has pervaded our society leading us to run counter to the ways of the Lord. Sound strange?

Ephesians 2: 1 Once you were dead because of your disobedience and your many sins. 2 You used to live in sin, just like the rest of the world, obeying the devil—the commander of the powers in the unseen world. He is the spirit at work in the hearts of those who refuse to obey God. 3 All of us used to live that way, following the passionate desires and inclinations of our sinful nature. By our very nature we were subject to God’s anger, just like everyone else.

Jeremiah 10: 21 The shepherds of my people have lost their senses. They no longer seek wisdom from the Lord. Therefore, they fail completely, and their flocks are scattered.

Adam and Eve never had this problem, they had an intimate relationship with their Creator and it all made sense to them, that is until the deceiver showed up one day. It made sense for her to take a bite of the fruit, right? As a matter of fact, she was convinced:

Genesis 3: 4 “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. 5 “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”

6 The woman was convinced. She saw that the tree was beautiful and its fruit looked delicious, and she wanted the wisdom it would give her. So she took some of the fruit and ate it.

You’d think she’d know better, the devil directly contradicts God’s Instruction, she seems to be seduced by the fruit (and by Satan) and she just had to eat it, didn’t she? Does this sound familiar to you? Can you relate to this?

Proverbs 14: 12 There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.

Did it make sense for Noah to build the boat, even though it had never rained before then? (Gen. 6)

Did it make sense for Abraham, the promised father of many, to sacrifice his son? (Gen. 22)

These are both great examples of times when God asked his servants to do something that went against logic and they obeyed God.  Let’s look at an example of disobedience:

1 Samuel  13: 7 …Meanwhile, Saul stayed at Gilgal, and his men were trembling with fear. 8 Saul waited there seven days for Samuel, as Samuel had instructed him earlier, but Samuel still didn’t come. Saul realized that his troops were rapidly slipping away. 9 So he demanded, “Bring me the burnt offering and the peace offerings!” And Saul sacrificed the burnt offering himself.

He just couldn’t wait, could he? But how much longer?

10 Just as Saul was finishing with the burnt offering, Samuel arrived. Saul went out to meet and welcome him, 11 but Samuel said, “What is this you have done?”

Apparently not much longer; and why did he disobey?

Saul replied, “I saw my men scattering from me, and you didn’t arrive when you said you would, and the Philistines are at Micmash ready for battle. 12 So I said, ‘The Philistines are ready to march against us at Gilgal, and I haven’t even asked for the Lord’s help!’ So I felt compelled to offer the burnt offering myself before you came.”

Saul was surrounded by dreadful circumstances, but if only he could’ve waited a little longer. The message I get from this is that Saul’s heart was motivated more by fear than by God. There were miraculous events that led him to be king and he was given a golden opportunity to lead God’s chosen people and he blew it because he just couldn’t wait long enough. It’s tragic, isn’t it? But God uses this act of disobedience to set the stage for King David, one whose heart is for God.

13 “How foolish!” Samuel exclaimed. “You have not kept the command the Lord your God gave you. Had you kept it, the Lord would have established your kingdom over Israel forever. 14 But now your kingdom must end, for the Lord has sought out a man after his own heart. The Lord has already appointed him to be the leader of his people, because you have not kept the Lord’s command.”

This is what I receive from this: When my heart is for God, I willfully choose to obey Him, but if my heart is hard, not wanting to submit to Him, I’d just as soon do what seems right to me and not obey Him.

This is why I think it is most crucial to do whatever we can to keep our hearts soft. I really don’t think we are much use to God when we have hard hearts. This reminds me of this:

John 15:  5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.

Try telling this to your unregenerated co-worker, he’d give you the strangest looks, wouldn’t he? But for the one who desires God the most, this makes the total sense.

Proverbs 20: 24 The Lord directs our steps, so why try to understand everything along the way?

Will you trust God to give you the sense you need to stay close to Him?

“Dear Lord, thank you for loving me and showing me the way to eternal life. Before you, Lord, my life didn’t make a whole lot of sense, but with your Word, I can see more from your perspective and I can take comfort in that. For you are sovereign and are in total control. This gives me hope. Please continue to guide me down your path Lord, the one that leads to life. In Jesus name, amen.”

 

Photo by Evan Dennis on Unsplash



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If you desire a closer walk with Jesus, just want more fellowship or "Bible Time" come join us at TheBibleTeam.com. We have weekly calls where our sole focus is spending time in God's Word.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
How Do We Trust? part 2

How Do We Trust? part 2

Psalm 103: 13 The Lord is like a father to his children,
tender and compassionate to those who fear him.
14 For he knows how weak we are;
he remembers we are only dust.

When I was six years old and my dad threw me way up in the air, it was fun, exciting, and a time of joy. I trusted him. Not once did I doubt that he would catch me. It was a sure thing. It’s what he did, toss me into the air… and pull me down. I relied on him and never thought twice about it. He was my dad and I was his boy.

What was it that led me to trust him? First of all, he was the only dad I ever knew. I had six years as his child to know him enough. Second, he never gave me a reason not to. I was just learning how to be a kid and he was big enough, strong enough, and responsible enough to handle all my needs. He was there for me and made me feel safe. As a six-year-old boy, I was at total peace in his arms. The same arms that were able to crush the boogeyman in the closet, by the way.

Can our trust in God be like this? I think so and I think He desires that more than anything.

1 Chronicles 28:  9 “And Solomon, my son, learn to know the God of your ancestors intimately. Worship and serve him with your whole heart and a willing mind. For the Lord sees every heart and knows every plan and thought. If you seek him, you will find him. But if you forsake him, he will reject you forever.10 So take this seriously. …

Reading this makes me think that God intends for us to know Him more intimately than most people know their dads today. The key words here are “learn to know”.

How do we learn to know anybody? Time, attention and persistence

But who has time for relationships anymore? Could it be that the single most important activity we should be participating in has taken the lowest priority?

Jesus models for us the appropriate use of time when it comes to “spending time with His Father”:

Luke 5: 16 But Jesus often withdrew to the wilderness for prayer.

Mark 6:  45 Immediately after this, Jesus insisted that his disciples get back into the boat and head across the lake to Bethsaida, while he sent the people home. 46 After telling everyone good-bye, he went up into the hills by himself to pray.

It appears in these last two verses that Jesus made a concerted effort to be alone with the Father, it was very important to Him.

If His own son needed to spend time with God, how much more do we need it?

Spending time with God alone is a learned habit and is developed over time. Alone time with God is not a natural activity. It is especially unusual for the newly awakened. For those fortunate enough to learn this discipline as a child or young adult, they’ve been greatly blessed with spiritual leadership in the home or church.

If you think you should spend more time with God, let’s discuss how you can overcome it. I can’t think of something more worthy of striving for, there’s only one thing worth being concerned about:

Luke 10:  39 Her sister, Mary, sat at the Lord’s feet, listening to what he taught.40 But Martha was distracted by the big dinner she was preparing. She came to Jesus and said, “Lord, doesn’t it seem unfair to you that my sister just sits here while I do all the work? Tell her to come and help me.”

41 But the Lord said to her, “My dear Martha, you are worried and upset over all these details! 42 There is only one thing worth being concerned about. Mary has discovered it, and it will not be taken away from her.”

If it’s the case that you are not finding the time to spend with God, then everything you are finding time for is more important than God. Yes, you may have a schedule, but where is God in that schedule? The time you spend throughout the week and day to day is an indicator of the priorities that you have set. It’s that simple.

Try telling your wife that you have only five minutes to spend with her and that it will have to come after the 11 o’clock news, brushing your teeth, and before setting the alarm for the next morning.

If this sounds familiar to you, I don’t think you are alone. These five minutes was a goal I used to have and at the time I was happy to do just that. I’d still fall asleep trying to pray.

I know that God wants this time with you more than anything else you do. I am convinced that if you took the total time that you take on your Sabbath day from getting ready for church service to getting out of your church clothes and divided that time by seven to be spent each day, He would rather you spend that time alone with Him than corporately with others. Please don’t use this as an excuse not to go to church! By all means, keep it up. Just know that God values your alone time with Him more than He does as part of a group, although both are important.

For those of you that desire a better relationship with God and seek the abundant life that Jesus promises, allow me to make a suggestion.

    1. Schedule time with God during your peak hours. A time during the day that you are most alert. Set aside at least 5 minutes and adjust accordingly.
    2. Devise a plan to read the Bible. Say you wish to read the book of Romans, one chapter a day, that’s great, but what will you read after that?
    3. Know that God is present and believe that He is with you.
    4. Pray whatever is on your mind. (This is the time to give your worries to Him.)

(Click here to create a reading plan: http://www.thebibleteam.com/PlanMaker.asp)

If this plan is followed consistently over time and you take it seriously, then I am certain that you will grow and this will turn into 10-15 minutes and even more as you develop this most sacred discipline.

Psalm 105: 4 Search for the Lord and for his strength;
continually seek him.

Are you taking Him seriously?

“O God, thank you for opening my eyes to see that you desire more time with me. Lord I pray that I can be more persistent and diligent in seeking you. Thank you in advance for drawing me closer to you and leading me along your path. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

Photo by Leio McLaren on Unsplash



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If you desire a closer walk with Jesus, just want more fellowship or "Bible Time" come join us at TheBibleTeam.com. We have weekly calls where our sole focus is spending time in God's Word.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.

How Do We Trust?

Does trust come automatically or is it learned? Of course, it is learned.  Trust takes time.

Just because someone says “trust me”, can we trust them? For those few people in our lives that we can trust, the people we say we can “count on” when things are tough, how was that trust developed? I am sure that those people have shown themselves to be trustworthy, over time. Perhaps they have come through for you like when your car broke down, or when you needed help with a personal emergency.

But what about those times that require more than human help? What about a terminal illness or a dire financial situation? I’m sure you know where I’m going with this. Certainly, God is there for us when we need Him, but although we know this intellectually, do we know in our heart that we can trust Him?

Psalm 9: 10 Those who know your name trust in you, for you, O Lord, do not abandon those who search for you.

I think this verse says so succinctly what I’m trying to say. “Those who know your name trust in you”. Reading about trusting in God or listening to your pastor about trusting God is one thing, but actually trusting in God personally is a completely different matter.

Pray or just pay?

When money seems like the obvious or only solution, do we reach for the credit card or do we wait on God and seek His advice? The problem is if we always seem to “figure it out”, there is no way for us to learn how to trust in Him. This is why I think He sometimes leads us down a path so that we have no choice but to trust in Him. How does this work? Let’s review the story of Elijah and the widow at Zarephath:

1 Kings 7: 8 Then the Lord said to Elijah, 9 “Go and live in the village of Zarephath, near the city of Sidon. I have instructed a widow there to feed you.”

10 So he went to Zarephath. As he arrived at the gates of the village, he saw a widow gathering sticks, and he asked her, “Would you please bring me a little water in a cup?” 11 As she was going to get it, he called to her, “Bring me a bite of bread, too.”

12 But she said, “I swear by the Lord your God that I don’t have a single piece of bread in the house. And I have only a handful of flour left in the jar and a little cooking oil in the bottom of the jug. I was just gathering a few sticks to cook this last meal, and then my son and I will die.”

God tells Isaiah to visit the widow, so he goes. Isaiah asks for some bread, and as far as she’s concerned she has just enough for one more meal, then she and her son will die.

“You’re asking me for bread???”

 13 But Elijah said to her, “Don’t be afraid! Go ahead and do just what you’ve said, but make a little bread for me first. Then use what’s left to prepare a meal for yourself and your son. 14 For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again!”

15 So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her son continued to eat for many days. 16There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah.

So Elijah reassures the woman and says that there will always be enough until the crops grow again. So that’s what happens. She lives through this somewhat miraculous time while her needs are being met day by day and they get through it. But then something happens:

17 Some time later the woman’s son became sick. He grew worse and worse, and finally he died.18 Then she said to Elijah, “O man of God, what have you done to me? Have you come here to point out my sins and kill my son?”

Her son dies.

She’s distraught and questions the man of God altogether. It doesn’t make sense. He comes there, she witnesses the daily miracles, and then her son dies? Why God? Elijah is clueless as well…

19 But Elijah replied, “Give me your son.” And he took the child’s body from her arms, carried him up the stairs to the room where he was staying, and laid the body on his bed. 20 Then Elijah cried out to the Lord, “O Lord my God, why have you brought tragedy to this widow who has opened her home to me, causing her son to die?”

21 And he stretched himself out over the child three times and cried out to the Lord, “O Lord my God, please let this child’s life return to him.” 22 The Lord heard Elijah’s prayer, and the life of the child returned, and he revived! 23 Then Elijah brought him down from the upper room and gave him to his mother. “Look!” he said. “Your son is alive!”

The non-believer is blessed by God through the believer and only after seeing her son die does God have a chance to work so that this happens…

24 Then the woman told Elijah, “Now I know for sure that you are a man of God, and that the Lord truly speaks through you.”

She’s now a believer!

God has revealed Himself to her and she has a great testimony. I love this. In this process of the woman becoming a believer, Elijah is strengthened and encouraged by the whole event. I think that the daily miracle of just having food to eat prepared the woman for what was to come.

Mark 4: 39 When Jesus woke up, he rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Silence! Be still!” Suddenly the wind stopped, and there was a great calm. 40 Then he asked them, “Why are you afraid? Do you still have no faith?”

41 The disciples were absolutely terrified. “Who is this man?” they asked each other. “Even the wind and waves obey him!”

God allowed the child to die just as He allows the storms to come into our lives so that we may see Him at work in our lives, learn to trust in Him, and also that those around us will know that He is God.

Exodus 14:18 When my glory is displayed through them, all Egypt will see my glory and know that I am the Lord!”

Do those around you know that He is the Lord?

“O Lord, thank you for what you are doing in my life. I don’t understand all that you are doing and you know that I get frustrated at times and ask ‘why?’. Please be patient with me as I continue to learn and get to know you more. For you are God and I am a mere human. Lead me down your perfect and pleasing path so that the people you have put in my life will know that you are God. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

Photo by Leio McLaren on Unsplash



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If you desire a closer walk with Jesus, just want more fellowship or "Bible Time" come join us at TheBibleTeam.com. We have weekly calls where our sole focus is spending time in God's Word.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Do You Know The Path He Has For You?

Do You Know The Path God Has For You?

There is this question that I used to ask God frequently, “Where are you leading me?”. I still do at times. If you are truly seeking God’s will for your life and are willing to be used by Him, then you are right where God wants you today.

2 Chronicles 16: 9 The eyes of the Lord search the whole earth in order to strengthen those whose hearts are fully committed to him.

I believe that if you commit to Him daily and keep your heart open and willing, then He will lead you along His path. In order for Him to use you, you need to keep yourself in good soil so that you will continue to grow and mature. As Jesus said:

Luke 8: 15 And the seeds that fell on the good soil represent honest, good-hearted people who hear God’s word, cling to it, and patiently produce a huge harvest.

The key words here are “hear God’s word, cling to it” and what I think is very important is “patiently produce”. In this verse, Jesus says the same thing, but using a different metaphor:

John 15:  5 “Yes, I am the vine; you are the branches. Those who remain in me, and I in them, will produce much fruit. For apart from me you can do nothing.

Your plan does not develop overnight and God rarely, if at all, informs His servants of the plan for them. I know that He has a plan for me, but I have no clue exactly what that is and where He is leading me. I am just another sheep that is trying to stay close to the Good Shepherd so that I can hear His voice.

John 10: 27 My sheep listen to my voice; I know them, and they follow me.

Consider Abram (age 75), when he was told to go to the land of Canaan:

Hebrews 11: 8 It was by faith that Abraham obeyed when God called him to leave home and go to another land that God would give him as his inheritance. He went without knowing where he was going.  9 And even when he reached the land God promised him, he lived there by faith—for he was like a foreigner, living in tents. And so did Isaac and Jacob, who inherited the same promise.  10 Abraham was confidently looking forward to a city with eternal foundations, a city designed and built by God.

Abram knew God had a plan, but he didn’t know exactly how it was going to work out. This is the same as Moses, who was 80 when God spoke with him from a burning bush. He was told to lead the people out of Egypt, but he didn’t know how it would work and how long it would take. I think there is a reason that God didn’t tell Moses that he’d be leading the Israelites through the desert for 40 years. But we know that Moses heard God speak, clung to God’s words and for the most part, remained patient.

Proverbs 20:24 
24 The Lord directs our steps,
so why try to understand everything along the way?

Of course, these are extreme examples of how God calls people, and there is much to be learned from all the servants of God throughout the Scriptures. If you haven’t lately, read the story of Joseph and how God used him (Gen 37-50). He had no control over his circumstances, but he continually had a heart for God and remained patient. God rewarded him immeasurably.

I think a better question to ask God, one that I like to ask daily (although I don’t always), is “what can I do for you today, Lord?” I believe that God will use us immediately when we are willing and are sensitive to His voice.

Psalm 32: 
8 The Lord says, “I will guide you along the best pathway for your life.
I will advise you and watch over you.
9 Do not be like a senseless horse or mule
that needs a bit and bridle to keep it under control.”

What people are in your life that you can serve today? Each of us has those people that God has put into our lives where we can exercise our love daily and/or weekly. If we can be found responsible for the ministry we already have, then He will give us more responsibility in His time.

What talents, skills, or abilities do you have that may be used to serve others? Perhaps you have the gift of hospitality? Only you (and perhaps your closest friends) know the gifts that God has already given you. He may give you more, but for now, I am convinced that God has blessed you with something that He can use now.

He’s given you so many years of invaluable life experience that He will use to bless others as only you can. You are special to Him and if you can continue staying close to Him and know Him more day by day then I assure you that He will use you in ways that you never would’ve dreamed. In the past, I was not a writer or even considered writing, and look what He has me doing week in and week out?

There are three essential habits that I’ve found to promote spiritual growth (staying in good soil). Those habits are daily Bible reading, prayer, and fellowship. I believe that if you can diligently pour yourself into these activities, you will not wander from His path:

2 John 1: 9 Anyone who wanders away from this teaching has no relationship with God. But anyone who remains in the teaching of Christ has a relationship with both the Father and the Son.

I consider the entire Bible to be the teaching of Christ, not just the red letters, for we know that “In the beginning was the Word”. It is the Word of God, in addition to prayer and fellowship that will develop your faith.

I know that I’ve said a lot, but let me leave you with this. Jesus kept things very simple. Read His answer to these people:

John 6: 27 But don’t be so concerned about perishable things like food. Spend your energy seeking the eternal life that the Son of Man can give you. For God the Father has given me the seal of his approval.”

28 They replied, “We want to perform God’s works, too. What should we do?”

29 Jesus told them, “This is the only work God wants from you: Believe in the one he has sent.”

Focus on getting to know God more and learn to put your trust in Him and Him alone and that is all He wants from you. It is from there that you will find the opportunities to serve.

Are you plugged into a group of people that have the same passion for God that you do? Consider this an invitation to join us on the Bible Team call on Mondays (details below), we’d love to have you join us.

Will you remain in good soil?

“Dear Lord, thank you for leading me to where I am now. You are the Good Shepherd and I need your guidance. Please help me stay on your path Lord, I do not want to regress in any way. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

Photo by Alex Iby on Unsplash



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If you desire a closer walk with Jesus, just want more fellowship or "Bible Time" come join us at TheBibleTeam.com. We have weekly calls where our sole focus is spending time in God's Word.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Do You Know What He Wants From You?

Do You Know What He Wants From You?

What does it mean to be a Christian? Is it just a social club or something to say to fit in? Maybe you call yourself a Christian because your parents did and you don’t know any better. What does it mean to you to be called Christian? Is this truly your identity?

Matthew 16: 24 Then Jesus said to his disciples, “If any of you wants to be my follower, you must turn from your selfish ways, take up your cross, and follow me.

Mark 1: 17 Jesus called out to them, “Come, follow me, and I will show you how to fish for people!”

Jesus said “come, follow me”. He did not say, “only if your heart is in it”, should you follow me. His command was direct and simple. So the disciples followed Him.

John 15: 16 You didn’t choose me. I chose you. I appointed you to go and produce lasting fruit, so that the Father will give you whatever you ask for, using my name.

It seems to me that the disciples stayed with Him, day after day. These ordinary men left their lives and their lively hoods behind them to follow their new Master. One day Simon Peter is a fisherman, the next day a trainee in the “fisher of men” program. One day Levi is a tax collector, the next he is following Jesus. These are radical decisions being made.

Do you understand this?

The course of their lives changed overnight. They had no idea what they were getting into, but they followed anyway. God gave them new employment. Instead of working at the sea to catch fish for a living, Simon Peter was now working for God.

Has this happened to you? Can you relate to this change of employment? Has God changed how He operates? Do you think He’s only called us to meet once a week and whatever spare devotional time there’s left in between?

I think He still wants us to spend time with Him daily, listening and interacting with Him. There should be no difference in the Christian’s life from day to day throughout the week. Each day should be “Spirit-filled”.

 Romans 8: 5 Those who are dominated by the sinful nature think about sinful things, but those who are controlled by the Holy Spirit think about things that please the Spirit. 6 So letting your sinful nature control your mind leads to death. But letting the Spirit control your mind leads to life and peace. 7 For the sinful nature is always hostile to God. It never did obey God’s laws, and it never will. 8 That’s why those who are still under the control of their sinful nature can never please God.

Being “Spirit-filled” or “controlled by the Holy Spirit” can happen only when we seek Him daily and spend time with Him. This is what is modeled for us in the gospels and it still applies today.

Has He called you to follow Him?

Or when you read the above verses is it “someone else” He’s called, like your cousin who’s now a missionary? Pastors and missionaries are not the only people that have been called. As a matter of fact, not all pastors have been called! If you’ve repented (changed your mind) of your sins and turned to God, then you’ve been called.

Matthew 3: 2 “Repent of your sins and turn to God, for the Kingdom of Heaven is near

The ambassador position mentioned in 2 Cor. 5 is not a part-time position.

2 Corinthians 5: 20 So we are Christ’s ambassadors; God is making his appeal through us. We speak for Christ when we plead, “Come back to God!”

I think if anyone pursues or follows God seriously, as the disciples had, God would lead them into full-time work. They might not be asked to leave their jobs, but they’ll know that they’re now working under New Management.

Matthew 9: 37 He said to his disciples, “The harvest is great, but the workers are few.

Will you join His workforce?

“Dear Lord, thank you for calling me. I once was blind but now I see. With this knowledge, I know I have a responsibility to share this good news with others. Please teach me your ways. Lead me to be an active member of the family business. I want to play a role in it, teach me how. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

 

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If you desire a closer walk with Jesus, just want more fellowship or "Bible Time" come join us at TheBibleTeam.com. We have weekly calls where our sole focus is spending time in God's Word.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.
Do You know What Is Right?

Do You Know What Is Right?

Proverbs 14:  12 There is a path before each person that seems right, but it ends in death.

Proverbs 3:
5 Trust in the Lord with all your heart;
do not depend on your own understanding.
6 Seek his will in all you do,
and he will show you which path to take.

What is right and how can we know?

Proverbs 9:10
10 Fear of the Lord is the foundation of wisdom.
Knowledge of the Holy One results in good judgment.

Doing what is right can only be decided by God. He is the one who created us and thus sets the standard. The internal struggle in all of us is deciding for ourselves what is right and wanting to contradict God thinking that we know better.

Judging someone just because of something I think is wrong is never the right thing to do. For one thing, it may be right in God’s eyes and even if it is wrong, it’s not my role to judge.

Romans 14:  1 Accept other believers who are weak in faith, and don’t argue with them about what they think is right or wrong. 2 For instance, one person believes it’s all right to eat anything. But another believer with a sensitive conscience will eat only vegetables. 3 Those who feel free to eat anything must not look down on those who don’t. And those who don’t eat certain foods must not condemn those who do, for God has accepted them. 4 Who are you to condemn someone else’s servants? They are responsible to the Lord, so let him judge whether they are right or wrong. And with the Lord’s help, they will do what is right and will receive his approval.

So what is right?

Was it right for God to harden Pharaoh’s heart?

Exodus 9:  12 But the Lord hardened Pharaoh’s heart, and just as the Lord had predicted to Moses, Pharaoh refused to listen.

Was it right for the Israelites to completely destroy their enemies?

1 Samuel 15: 2 This is what the Lord of Heaven’s Armies has declared: I have decided to settle accounts with the nation of Amalek for opposing Israel when they came from Egypt. 3 Now go and completely destroy the entire Amalekite nation—men, women, children, babies, cattle, sheep, goats, camels, and donkeys.”

It may seem right to pay all of your bills first, before tithing, but is that what God desires?

It may seem right to get my tasks done first, and then make time for God. I used to think this way, but now I know that that is not right for me. Although I can deduct this lesson from the Bible, Jesus taught me this first hand. This is why knowing our Creator personally is crucial so that we can learn first hand what is right on a daily basis and be convicted of it. Who determines right from wrong?

Let’s learn from Eve

Although Eve knew in her mind that eating the fruit was wrong, she had little or no conviction over it. She had not learned that lesson in her heart.

God’s command: Genesis 2: 15 The Lord God placed the man in the Garden of Eden to tend and watch over it. 16 But the Lord God warned him, “You may freely eat the fruit of every tree in the garden—17 except the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. If you eat its fruit, you are sure to die.”

The Lie: Genesis 3:  4 “You won’t die!” the serpent replied to the woman. 5 “God knows that your eyes will be opened as soon as you eat it, and you will be like God, knowing both good and evil.”

Just like with Eve, the devil always has a way of questioning that which we already know is right and we can either “not depend on your own understanding” or go with what satan makes us think is right but is always an illusion.

The ultimate question for everyone on the planet then becomes “Can I trust God to know what is right for me?” Can I disregard my upbringing, teaching, and worldly experiences and cling to the path that God has for me?

Reading the Bible is not enough

Simply reading the Word of God is not enough. We need to meditate on the Holy Bread of God, plead with God to transform us into His own image (His original intent) and wait patiently, trusting that He will be faithful to complete that which He’s started in us.

Only then can we learn in our hearts what is right. Only God knows exactly what we need so who am I to think I can find it in “Self” magazine? After all, if He defines and determines what is right, then doesn’t He know what is right for me?

Jeremiah 18: 1 The Lord gave another message to Jeremiah. He said, 2 “Go down to the potter’s shop, and I will speak to you there.” 3 So I did as he told me and found the potter working at his wheel. 4 But the jar he was making did not turn out as he had hoped, so he crushed it into a lump of clay again and started over.

5 Then the Lord gave me this message: 6 “O Israel, can I not do to you as this potter has done to his clay? As the clay is in the potter’s hand, so are you in my hand.

A matter of submission

To me, this is all about letting God be God and me be His humble servant. As soon as I start getting these roles reversed, I no longer ask Him what is right and determine that for myself. It is a matter of submission.

Psalm 118:8
8 It is better to take refuge in the Lord
than to trust in people.

Psalm 1: 1b He feared God and stayed away from evil.

Working at a church may seem right and please the pastor, but if it is at the expense of your wife or husband and causes you to neglect those in your immediate ministry, then I would say it might be wrong.

Only God knows what is right for you to do, and only you can know what that is by remaining in Him.

There is no other way than to trust and obey!

John 15:  9 “I have loved you even as the Father has loved me. Remain in my love. 10 When you obey my commandments, you remain in my love, just as I obey my Father’s commandments and remain in his love. 11 I have told you these things so that you will be filled with my joy. Yes, your joy will overflow!

When we say in our own minds “I don’t know what to do” we have a choice between asking others and asking God. He promises to direct our steps. Admitting that “we don’t know” is a place of humility, which allows us to be used by God, because He gladly helps us and that brings glory to Him.

James 1:  5 If you need wisdom, ask our generous God, and he will give it to you. He will not rebuke you for asking. 6 But when you ask him, be sure that your faith is in God alone. Do not waver, for a person with divided loyalty is as unsettled as a wave of the sea that is blown and tossed by the wind. 7 Such people should not expect to receive anything from the Lord. 8 Their loyalty is divided between God and the world, and they are unstable in everything they do.

Will you do what it takes to know what is right?

“Dear God, You are the Potter and I am the clay, help me to be your humble servant. Help me know what is right in your eyes, not mine. Thank you for continually teaching me from your Word so that I may have knowledge and understanding. In Jesus’ name, amen.”

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If you desire a closer walk with Jesus, just want more fellowship or "Bible Time" come join us at TheBibleTeam.com. We have weekly calls where our sole focus is spending time in God's Word.
Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Holy Bible, New Living Translation, copyright © 1996, 2004, 2007, 2013, 2015 by Tyndale House Foundation. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers, Inc., Carol Stream, Illinois 60188. All rights reserved.