Christian

Abundant Life is Relationship With God

I have a very specific reason for writing this post. A friend wrote to me and said she didn’t understand why God had not answered her desperate prayer. This post is for her.

Teach me about your love
the gift that's from above.
When sorrow fills my heart,
your comfort alone can part
the sea of pain.
You lead me on dry ground
to the Promise Land.
In this life, you will provide
the manna and the quail.
That nourishes my soul
until I see
the Promise Land.

” . . . as for me, I trust in the Lord.
 I will be glad and rejoice in your love,
    for you saw my affliction
    and knew the anguish of my soul.” Psalm 31:6-7

“He humbled you, causing you to hunger and then feeding you with manna, which neither you nor your ancestors had known, to teach you that man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord.“Deuteronomy 8:3 NIV

“Every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” refers to spiritual food. It is your relationship with God through the Word of God and the Holy Spirit, who teaches us all things.

Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.” John 16:33 NIV

Abundant life is relationship with God. It is knowing the Almighty God, the Creator of the Universe, the King of King and Lord of Lords. It is being able to talk to Him at any time and in any place. It is the privilege of saying, “My Father” and knowing He is listening intently. It is for now and forever.

“The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.” John 10:10 NIV

A relationship with God should never be trivialized. Nothing can compare to such a glorious blessing, certainly not things (cars, houses, etc.). Our God is not Amazon.com. He isn’t here to be our Cosmic Santa Claus. Jesus didn’t sacrifice His life in order for us to prosper materially here on Earth. He didn’t have to die to accomplish that. He died to give us eternal life through a right relationship with the Living God which will last forever. May we know the true gift of God.

“For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God.” 1 Peter 3:18 NIV

“You guide me with your counsel,
    and afterward you will take me into glory.
 Whom have I in heaven but you?
    And earth has nothing I desire besides you.
  Psalm 73:24-25 NIV

Sometimes, God does not do things the way we want. Why? We may never know while here on Earth. But many times, we understand later, even years later. God is more interested in our character development than in giving us a cushy life here on Earth. We must trust Him.

I had a friend once who was desperate to save his marriage. He was convinced that by going to church and “believing” God, by having enough faith, God would save his marriage. He gave it his all.

But God did not save his marriage. No matter how hard he tried to “just have faith”, it didn’t happen.

Guess what happened to him? He left the church and was never seen again. From his perspective, God and faith didn’t work. That’s because he saw God and faith as a way to get what he wanted. He didn’t understand the true gift of God.

Do you see the disillusionment this can bring and why it causes people to abandon their faith in God? And this is the point! Truth is vital. That’s why we must be like the Bereans, who . . .

“received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.” Acts 17:11

Jesus said, We must “worship God in Spirit and in truth”. As you read the familiar passage below about the Samaritan woman, I want you to notice four things.

  1. Jesus reveals to her the “gift of God”. (v. 10)
  2. She thinks Jesus is talking about natural things, but he is talking about spiritual things. (v.11)
  3. Jesus shows her the superiority of a spiritual gift compared to a natural gift. (v.13-14)
  4. Jesus reveals to her the kind of worshippers the Father seeks. (v.23-24)

“When a Samaritan woman came to draw water, Jesus said to her, “Will you give me a drink?” (His disciples had gone into the town to buy food.)The Samaritan woman said to him, “You are a Jew and I am a Samaritan woman. How can you ask me for a drink?” (For Jews do not associate with Samaritans.[a]) 10 Jesus answered her, “If you knew the gift of God and who it is that asks you for a drink, you would have asked him and he would have given you living water.” 11 “Sir,” the woman said, “you have nothing to draw with and the well is deep. Where can you get this living water? 12 Are you greater than our father Jacob, who gave us the well and drank from it himself, as did also his sons and his livestock?” 13 Jesus answered, “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again, 14 but whoever drinks the water I give them will never thirst. Indeed, the water I give them will become in them a spring of water welling up to eternal life.” 15 The woman said to him, “Sir, give me this water so that I won’t get thirsty and have to keep coming here to draw water.” 16 He told her, “Go, call your husband and come back.” 17 “I have no husband,” she replied. Jesus said to her, “You are right when you say you have no husband. 18 The fact is, you have had five husbands, and the man you now have is not your husband. What you have just said is quite true.” 19 “Sir,” the woman said, “I can see that you are a prophet. 20 Our ancestors worshiped on this mountain, but you Jews claim that the place where we must worship is in Jerusalem.” 21 “Woman,” Jesus replied, “believe me, a time is coming when you will worship the Father neither on this mountain nor in Jerusalem. 22 You Samaritans worship what you do not know; we worship what we do know, for salvation is from the Jews. 23 Yet a time is coming and has now come when the true worshipers will worship the Father in the Spirit and in truth, for they are the kind of worshipers the Father seeks. 24 God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” 25 The woman said, “I know that Messiah” (called Christ) “is coming. When he comes, he will explain everything to us.” 26 Then Jesus declared, “I, the one speaking to you—I am he.” John 4 NIV

Lord, Help us to study your Word daily and love the Truth. Help us to appreciate our relationship with you and to understand your love.

“Thy word is a lamp unto my feet, and a light unto my path.” Psalm 119:105 KJV

With Love, 

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This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

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Christian

WARNING: THE DEVIL WILL LIE TO YOU! LEARN HOW!

When we set out to accomplish what God has called us to do, the enemy will tell us that we can’t (because we’re not good enough) or we shouldn’t (because God’s didn’t really tell us to do it). In my life, this has happened over and over.

At first, we might not realize that it’s the devil telling us lies. That’s because we think it’s coming from our own thinking, but it isn’t. It’s coming from the Father of Lies, the devil. He puts these thoughts in your mind! Jesus said:

“. . . the devil . . . was a murderer from the beginning, not holding to the truth, for there is no truth in him. When he lies, he speaks his native language, for he is a liar and the father of lies.” John 8:44 NIV

It doesn’t matter what it is, how big or how small. Whether it’s writing a blog, leading a women’s Bible Study, or teaching three little children in a Sunday School class, thoughts of inadequacy will attack my mind. Somebody else would do a lot better job, I think.

There have been moments in the past when I literally began to panic. Thoughts racing through my mind … God didn’t tell you to write a blog! You shouldn’t be doing this! This is all your own idea!

Have you ever experienced this deceitful kind of attack on your mind? God didn’t send you here! God didn’t say …

Do you remember what the Serpent said to Eve? Did God really say, ‘You must not eat from any tree in the garden’?” Genesis 3:1

This is the Deceiver in action: making you question what God has said. It is nothing new.

After reading Nabeel Qureshi’s book, Seeking Allah, Finding Jesus, I have thought I should prepare myself to minister to Muslim women (in case the opportunity should arise). But then I thought, I’m too old now (67). If only I would have done this earlier in my life. (There goes that liar, the devil, again.) But, guess what happened?

While reading my Bible, I read that Joshua led the Israelites until he was 110 years old! (Joshua 24:29) And Joshua was between 68 and 78 years old when he took over for Moses, before they even entered the promised land.

That’s why we need to read our Bible every day. God might want to show us something! In addition to that, I learned that Moses led the Israelites out of Egypt when he was 80 years old and Aaron was 83!

All of these great men of God were used mightily by the Lord into their old age. God never does things the way we think He will, or like we would. (So much for the “You’re too old theory”.)

As my friend, Annie https://seekingdivineperspective.com recently said, “He doesn’t call the qualified, He qualifies the called.” This theme is repeated over and over in the Scriptures (Moses, Gideon, and David, to mention a few.)

Moses said to the Lord, “Pardon your servant, Lord. I have never been eloquent, neither in the past nor since you have spoken to your servant. I am slow of speech and tongue.” Exodus 4:10 NIV

“Pardon me, my lord,” Gideon replied, “but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” Judges 6:15 NIV

“But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things people look at. People look at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.” 1 Samuel 16:7 NIV (referring to David, the shepherd boy)

Whatever it is that God is calling you to do, He will be right beside you, giving you wisdom, strength, and guidance. It is for His glory. If we were qualified, we would get the glory. But the battle is the Lord’s! To Him be the glory!

With Love, 

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This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

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Christian

The $64,000 Question

“Now there is in store for me the crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous Judge, will award to me on that day—and not only to me, but also to all who have longed for his appearing.” 2 Timothy 4:8 NIV

On July 6, I published a post titled “Where is Your Treasure?” It is based on Jesus’ words,

“Do not store up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moths and vermin destroy, and where thieves break in and steal. But store up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where moths and vermin do not destroy, and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6: 19-21 NIV

Emma posed this question, “Any advice for someone who needs to be able to support themselves financially and yet, also needs to be careful about how much time is spent on working towards (worldly) success?”

That’s the $64,000 question, isn’t it? Let’s examine God’s Word to find the answer.

The Pharisees asked Jesus’s disciples, “Why does your teacher eat with tax collectors and sinners?” (Matthew 9:11) Jesus answered,

“It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.  But go and learn what this means: ‘I desire mercy, not sacrifice.’ For I have not come to call the righteous, but sinners.” Matthew 9:12-13 NIV

Jesus is quoting Hosea 6:6 which explains the meaning of the verse a little more.

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

I think Jesus is teaching that we can’t live by a set of rules to be checked off. To please God, we must know God, and allow God to change us into the likeness of Christ. Later, the Apostle Paul writes,

“Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will.” Romans 12:2 NIV

We please God when we seek to be like Him through prayer, Bible study , and obedience.

“Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men . . . It is the Lord Christ you are serving.” Colossians 3:17 NIV

That tells me that I should do my job with all my heart, as if I was working for the Lord. If we are honest, conscientious, hard-working, and kind to those we work with, it is a testimony to others. Jesus said,

“. . . let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.” Matthew 5:16 NIV

“We have different gifts, according to the grace given to each of us. If your gift is . . . giving, then give generously” Romans 12:6-8 NIV

My Thoughts

I believe the answer to Emma’s question is different for every person. Based on my study, here are some thoughts for you to consider as you study God’s Word.

  • We all have responsibilities, some more that others. Some have a family to provide for, others do not. I certainly don’t think the Lord calls everyone to live in poverty. Some are given the ministry of giving. How could they give if they didn’t have resources?
  • We need to be aware of what our spending says about us. If I wear $1,000 sneakers while those around me have holes in their shoes, then something’s not right. I must continually ask God to purify my heart. On the other hand, if I dress similarly to other people I work with, well that seems appropriate.
  • If my job keeps me so busy that I don’t attend church and don’t have time to read my Bible, something needs to change because I am not being obedient to what God has said in His Word.
  • If I make a lot of money, but I am a generous giver, helping those in need and seeking God’s will in giving, well that seems right to me. If I make a lot of money and spend it all on lavish gifts for myself, I need to start reading my Bible!

Prayer

Father, Help me to be more like Jesus. Give me a hunger for your Holy Word and teach me to pray. Create a pure heart in me that I might be pleasing in your sight. I want to know you and walk in love with those around me. Give me a heart like David, a man after your own heart. Then I will know how to walk in your ways and bring honor and glory to your precious name. Amen

Thank you for letting me share my thoughts with you, today. Your thoughts and comments are welcomed and appreciated.

With Love, 

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This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

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Christian

The Holy Spirit, Our Helper

I went to my office, laid my head down on my Bible and sighed in defeat, “Lord, I don’t know what to do.” As soon as the words slipped from my mouth, I remembered something that I had read earlier in the day.

When King Jehoshaphat was warned that a vast army was coming against him, he was alarmed and resolved to inquire of the Lord. He called a fast for all of Judah and the people came together to seek God.

King Jehoshaphat stood up in the assembly and cried out to God in prayer. He ends the prayer with these words:

“We do not know what to do, but our eyes are on you!” 2 Chronicles 20:12 NIV

I quickly found the passage in my Bible and read it over and over. God was telling me what to do: Keep my eyes on Him! I can do that! Immediately my anxiety melted away. My fear disappeared and I felt the comfort only God can provide.

I also remembered, “And let us run with perseverance the race marked out for us, fixing our eyes on Jesus” Hebrews 12:1-2 NIV

“I keep my eyes always on the Lord.
    With him at my right hand, I will not be shaken.” Psalm 16:8 NIV

What does it mean to keep your eyes on the Lord? Here are some thoughts.

  1. Acknowledge that you can’t fix this in your own strength. Jehoshaphat knew that he was in for a battle that he was not strong enough to win and he didn’t know what to do. The enemy was getting closer every minute.
  2. When we realize that it isn’t within our own ability to fix the problem, only then can we really depend completely on the Lord.
  3. These kinds of opportunities will stretch our faith and bring us closer to God.

You might be wondering what happened to King Jehoshaphat and the people of Judah when they fixed their eyes on the Lord instead of the problem.

This is what the Lord said, “Do not be afraid or discouraged because of this vast army. For the battle is not yours, but God’s. (v15) Stand firm and see the deliverance the Lord will give you. . . Do not be afraid. Do not be discouraged.”(v17)

“Jehoshaphat bowed down with his face to the ground, and all the people of Judah and Jerusalem fell down in worship before the Lord. . .Jehoshaphat appointed men to sing to the Lord . . . ‘Give thanks to the Lord, for his love endures forever.’ As they began to sing and praise, the Lord set ambushes against the men of Ammon and Moab and Mount Seir who were invading Judah, and they were defeated.” (v18&21)

Take away: They depended completely on the Lord. They worshipped Him. They thanked Him. They praised Him. The Lord threw their enemies into confusion and they were defeated.

Read more about Jehoshaphat’s battle here. (2 Chronicles 20:1-30)

When our battle is too hard, let us fix our eyes on Jesus. Let us worship His holiness, thank Him, praise Him, and give Him glory. When you read God’s Word, God Himself will teach you and encourage you because He says,

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness,  so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

“But the Counselor, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, will teach you all things and will remind you of everything I have said to you.” John 14:26 NIV

Thank you for letting me share my journey with you, today. Comments are welcomed and appreciated.

With Love, 

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This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

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Daily Scripture

Daily Scripture, 6/19/19

“Love is patient and kind. Love is not jealous or boastful or proud  or rude. It does not demand its own way. It is not irritable, and it keeps no record of being wronged.  It does not rejoice about injustice but rejoices whenever the truth wins out.  Love never gives up, never loses faith, is always hopeful, and endures through every circumstance.” 1 Corinthians 13:4-7 NLT

With Love, 

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This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

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Daily Scripture

Daily Scripture, 6/18/19

“Start children off on the way they should go,
    and even when they are old they will not turn from it.” Proverbs 22:6 NIV

With Love, 

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This Is My Journey Unscripted.

Click this link to learn more about Jesus: Who Is Jesus?

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