Food for Thought

These passages of scripture talk about two things…. giving to the needy and do not worry. It made me think this….. When it says that we are not worry because if God provides for the birds then why should we worry about Him providing for us? Think about this God doesn’t come by and drop the worm in the birds’ mouths..does He build their nests for them.. no! He gave them wings to fly about this world and find the worms that He provides. We as Christians who are saved are not saved to sit around and just wait on God’s provisions at times, but that we should get out and do what He has called us to do. If you are called to ministry then start ministering, you don’t need a church. God will bring and provide that church whether it be a building or a nation. Why did God give you talents that you are not using because of fear or because he has not provided the outlet for you to use that talent? Think about it.

The second passage talks about feeding the needy. People (doubters) ask why does such a good God not help feed the hungry or let people suffer in other ways in this world? He doesn’t! He made us! We are the church. We as Christians need to get up and out of our comfort zone and do with our talents and our calling as Christians and DO SOMETHING!

Isn’t it time for us as God’s children to go out and use those provisions He has blessed us with? Are we waiting on Him to build our nest? Are we waiting for that mission trip til we can afford it to witness to others? or that church to preach in to be built? Stop waiting to live the life you are called for! It’s time to go out of our way and Do Something!

Do Not Worry

25 “Therefore I tell you, do not worry about your life, what you will eat or drink; or about your body, what you will wear. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothes? 26 Look at the birds of the air; they do not sow or reap or store away in barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not much more valuable than they? 27 Can any one of you by worrying add a single hour to your life[e]?

28 “And why do you worry about clothes? See how the flowers of the field grow. They do not labor or spin. 29 Yet I tell you that not even Solomon in all his splendor was dressed like one of these. 30 If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you—you of little faith? 31 So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ 32 For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. 33 But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well. 34 Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own.

Matthew 6 (NIV)
Giving to the Needy

6 “Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of others to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your Father in heaven.

2 “So when you give to the needy, do not announce it with trumpets, as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and on the streets, to be honored by others. Truly I tell you, they have received their reward in full. 3 But when you give to the needy, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your giving may be in secret. Then your Father, who sees what is done in secret, will reward you.

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When God Speaks

Genesis 1: 1 – 4, In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. The earth was without form, and void; and darkness was on the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God was hovering over the face of the waters. Then God said, “Let there be light”; and there was light. And God saw the light that it was good; and God divided the light from the darkness.

Isn’t it amazing how everything we see on this earth or in the sky began with a Word? God used something that is invisible to the human eye to create everything that is visible. Everything that has been made by man has come from the earth. When you look down at the ground can you envision a house or a bridge? When God began to speak in Genesis 1, He already had a vision of a world filled with people who would love Him and praise Him for all His goodness.

In order to do the will of God in the earth today, Christians must understand how God operates. He doesn’t want us to look at a certain situation and only see the situation; speaking the problem to the problem won’t eliminate the problem. Jesus tells us in Matthew 17, to speak with faith unto the mountain and the mountain will be removed and cast into the sea. In the beginning, God didn’t look at the darkness and say, “It sure is dark!” He didn’t desire to see darkness, so He spoke what He wanted to see, which was light. As Christians, who also happen to be humans, we must do what God did, the way He did it, so that we might get the same results. We must address this life, along with its difficulties, by faith in what we want to see, instead of looking at life with only the view that is offered by our eyes. 

Every time that God spoke something from heaven, it appeared exactly that way on earth. Therefore, when God saw on earth what He had declared from heaven, He would call it good. It was good, because He had created it, but also because His will was being fulfilled on earth just as it already was in heaven. Here’s where faith comes into the story of your new life in Christ. If we indeed walk by faith, then we will reflect back to God what He has already planned for our lives. If we don’t walk by faith, but only by sight, then we won’t reflect His will for us and He will know why. For us to have faith simply means that we walk in agreement with His will and not with our will.

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Always Learning

No matter how long you may live, you’ll never stop learning. Every minute of every day brings new opportunities to learn something we’ve never known before. As long as we’re open to receive, God will continue to teach us every day.

I’m still learning, and I know I always will be. What God teaches me every day about love continues to change my life. I’ve come to the place where I can honestly say, “Lord, eliminate everything in my life that’s holding me back. Please take away anything that’s keeping me from walking in love and finding true fulfillment in my life.” In other words, “Lord, reduce me to love—bring me to a state or condition of walking in love completely!”

One of the most important facets I’ve learned about love is unselfishness, which is characterized in the Bible as a willingness to sacrifice one’s own wishes for those of others. I’ve learned that true love will always adapt and adjust to the needs and desires of other people.

It’s impossible for people who’ve truly been reduced to love to be selfish. God has taught them how to be totally adaptable and adjustable to others. Selfish people, on the other hand, have hard hearts. It’s very difficult for them to learn anything—especially if it involves self-sacrifice. They expect everyone else to adjust to them and their needs. They simply don’t know how to adjust to others without becoming angry or upset.

Learning to adapt and adjust to the needs and desires of others was very difficult for me. To be honest, I wanted my way, and I got upset when I didn’t get it. I was selfish! I wanted what I wanted, when I wanted it! I couldn’t stand having to wait on someone else or bending my own wishes to accommodate someone else’s timetable.

But God began to soften my heart, and gradually I learned to see the needs of others. Then God gave me compassion—the heartfelt desire to meet the needs of others first before my own.

Slowly, I became committed to walking in love. I learned to adapt my own needs and desires in order to help meet the needs of others. I learned how to show love in different ways to different people. Not all people need the same thing from us. One of our children, for example, may need more of our personal time than the others. One of our friends may need more encouragement on a regular basis than another.

For example, all of my family members need me, my employer needs me, my friends need me—and they all need me in different ways. Do I ever feel too needed? Of course! We all feel overwhelmed from time to time. But I remind myself that God gives me grace for whatever He places in my life, and I’m fortunate to be loved and needed by so many.

If I ever get weary of always trying to be available to meet the needs of others, I remind myself of all the years I lived in selfishness and how unhappy I was. Now I’m just making up for lost time! When I think on this, it doesn’t take long for me to adjust my attitude. After all, just telling people “I’ll pray for you” and “I love you” is not enough. We need to go beyond the words and actually do something to help meet their needs.

Answers Are Waiting in His Presence

 

 

Do you sometimes believe that you can accomplish more on your own, without any help from God? Do you often start your day without even acknowledging His presence? If so, I want to challenge you to begin seeking Him—not just in the morning—but throughout your day. Personally, I take advantage of every opportunity I can to find a quiet place where I can be alone to talk with God, just as I would a close friend. When we cultivate a personal relationship with God, we learn that His way is always better than our own.

Often it seems as if the methods of the world are quicker and easier than God’s method; however, I know from experience that His way is always best. Following the world leads to a dead end.  However, following God’s way leads to a successful, happy life.

Many times, we rush through our days, proceed with our own plans, and place our time with God on the back burner. As a result, we often travel down those dead-end roads. Only when everything else has failed do we call out to him in desperation. Although God doesn’t mind showing us mercy during those times, He would rather we seek Him first. Just as a close friend would not want to be chosen as a last resort, God doesn’t want to be our last resort either.

When we cultivate a relationship with God, we must understand that He not only wants to be an intricate part of our lives, but He also wants us to delight in the time we spend with Him. When we begin to enjoy spending time with Him, He allows us to know Him on a more intimate level. He reveals mysteries to us when we quiet ourselves and listen more intently for His voice. He will give us answers that only He can give, which will empower us to reach our fullest potential in life.

As we receive His words, we experience a peace that passes all understanding. We begin to have what I call a knowing, deep inside, that He is always there, ready to give us the revelation knowledge we need to operate in power.

In order to reach this secret place, we must keep in mind certain truths that are vital in establishing a relationship with Him. First, we must acknowledge His son, Jesus, who sacrificed His precious blood. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of acknowledging the shed blood of Jesus. It is a necessity in the life of a Believer. It is only because of Jesus’ sacrifice that we have an opportunity to cultivate a close relationship with the Father.

Also, we must love others unconditionally, because God is love. When we begin to increase our understanding of the love of God and operate in it, we will begin to experience more of Him.

Last but not least, we must learn how to cast our cares on Him, setting aside time each day to clear our minds of clutter. God is always speaking to us, but when our minds are filled with worries and concerns we cannot hear Him.

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Being Steadfast

This message is about being steadfast and I pray it helps you like it has me. Probably the one word that describes the successful, victorious Christian life is the word steadfast. It means not moving. Not letting the winds of day to day life blow you off course. Consistency. As I have said many times, this Christian journey we are on is a marathon, not a sprint. It is a daily walk, where each day builds upon the previous day. That is why the daily time with the Lord is so critical. That is why living what you say you believe each and every day is critical. After a while, you begin to know deep down inside that the Lord is so real. That His Word is true. That His promises really are for you. After a while you begin to have total 100% confidence that everything you have put your faith in is very real, and that your faith is not in vain. You see the destroyed lives, the pain, the heartache, the emptiness in so many people around you each and every day that have rebelled and tried to live life their way. You start to understand that doing it God’s way really does work. As the days turn into weeks, and the weeks into months, and the months into years, you start to become steadfast in your relationship with Christ and in your faith.

The element of being steadfast is an element missing in the Christian walk of most new believers. They are still treading water trying to understand it all, and have yet to develop the confidence and total faith in the Lord. For those who have been walking with the Lord for many years, and have learned over time how to be steadfast, I want to challenge you to reach out and help a young believer learn this important element of our life with the Lord. It is difficult for us to bear fruit in our life for the Lord when we do not have that consistency day in and day out. It is difficult for the Lord to use us to touch others when we aren’t steadfast in our walk. Let the Lord use you to teach a young believer how to live that consistent life the Bible calls us to live. It is the responsibility of those who know the Lord, and are mature in their relationship with the Lord, to help the new believers develop that same maturity.

Becoming mature in our Christian experience is extremely important so that we can be the best servant to our God as possible. Being steadfast in our daily life is critical to getting to that place in our life with the Lord. I will be praying today that you will find the strength and courage to be steadfast and not wavering to the right or left as you serve the Lord. God has a great plan for your life, and being able to count on you each day is important to see that plan unfold and know the fullness of His blessings. Make this a priority in your prayer life to work daily to get to that point where you are steadfast, unmovable in your life and commitment to Christ.

May His richest blessings be with you today as you work towards being a steadfast, unmovable servant of the living God!

Be strong and courageous!

We can let fear dominate our life or we can choose to be strong and courageous. I say we can “choose” but have you noticed in today’s verse it is a command? Why would God do that? Why would He command us to be strong and courageous? Because we NEED it and He is WORTHY of it! However, we do have options. We can let fear grip our heart and influence our decisions. We can rationalize why we can’t be strong or courageous. We can justify why we should be discouraged and drown in self-pity and yet what does God command? “Do not be terrified, do not be discouraged, for the Lord your God will be with you wherever you go.” Today, decide to obey the Lord. Be strong and courageous in all you face today.

“This is my command–be strong and courageous! Do not be afraid or discouraged. For the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.” Joshua 1:9

Joshua was about to lead a vast number of wilderness wanderers into the Land of Promise. The parents of these wanderers had once noted how intimidating the land’s inhabitants were, but Joshua had defended God’s promise Now he would see God’s promise fulfilled. But he would have to be strong and courageous. And he would have to remember that God would never leave him or forsake him. We have to remember that too. We know in our heads that God will never leave us or forsake us, but when a crisis hits, we often feel like He already has.

In moments of confusion or pain, we can get really disoriented The God who seemed like He was on our side yesterday suddenly seems like He doesn’t even know our names. In those times of confusion, we need to insist to ourselves what we know to be true: that He hasn’t left and He isn’t going to. He is still on our side.

Like Joshua, we face big moments of decision, times when we have to put our faith on the line and be strong and courageous. We may fear the outcome, but we don’t have to. Even if the outcome isn’t what we expected, God will be with us in the surprise or disappointment. But He will also be with us in many victories. Whatever we have to walk through, He is there. Stake everything on that, no matter how present or absent He seems to be. Trust Him even when you can’t sense Him. He made a binding promise to be with you. And He never breaks a promise.

Father, thank You for being with us. No matter what happens, we know you place victory – in one way or another in our path. You will lead us into many lands of promise. And on the way there, Your being with us means everything.

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Strength for the Storm

No matter what storm rages in your life today no matter how fierce the winds or how high the waves may be – where you are is no surprise to God. Heaven is not in a panic. Keep your gaze on Him and your glance on the raging waters. “Lash yourself” to Him and He will supply everything you need to stand firm in the storm.

 

 Romans 5:3-5 (NLT) “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us–they help us learn to endure. Endurance then develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation.”

Life is filled with storms of one kind or another. In the midst of those storms, we tend to respond as if God has somehow been caught off guard. The storm makes no sense. We can’t explain why terminal illness strikes godly people. We don’t understand how our strongest friends can become our fiercest critics. The anguish of a broken marriage or the overwhelming heartbreak of a prodigal child drives us to doubt God’s purpose, plan and provision. The fear of financial ruin paralyzes us. God understands. 

 

God uses our trials and storms as tools of refinement to build in us endurance. The word “endure” comes from two Greek words that when combined, give the meaning “to remain under.”  It is the capacity to stay under the load, to remain in the circumstances without running away or looking for the easy way out.

 

The purpose of every storm is to purify and cultivate endurance. Like Paul, we may sometimes feel as if we are being torn to pieces under the pressure of circumstances. But his challenge to the Romans compels us to re-examine our perspective and response to each storm we face. “We can rejoice, too, when we run into problems and trials, for we know that they are good for us–they help us learn to endure. Endurance then develops strength of character in us, and character strengthens our confident expectation of salvation” (Romans 5:3-5 NLT).

 

Endurance is never passive. It is the picture of a soldier staying in the heat of the battle under terrible opposition but still pressing forward to gain the victory.

 

There are few things that we can count on in this unpredictable life – but we can count on storms to come. We can also count on God’s continual and unfailing strength for those storms. When the hard times come, when bad things happen, we do not have to wonder where God is. Instead we can hold on to the promise that is found in Jeremiah 16:19, “Lord, you are my strength, and my protection. You are a safe place for me to run in times of trouble” (NLT).

 

An old seaman once said, “In fierce storms we can do but one thing. There is only one way to survive. We must put the ship in a certain position and keep her there.”

 

“This, my friends is what you must do. Sometimes, like Paul, you can see neither sun nor stars, and no small tempest lies on you. Reason cannot help you. Past experiences give you no light. Only a single course is left. You must stay upon the Lord; and come what may — winds, waves, cross seas, thunder, lightning, frowning rocks, roaring breakers — no matter what, you must lash yourself to the helm and hold fast your confidence in God’s faithfulness and his everlasting love in Christ Jesus.

Stand firm, knowing that God is Lord of every storm you will ever face.

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Pure Joy!

Invite the joy of God to reign over your anxious heart. You can smile and place your refined faith in Him. He is building your faith capacity for the long run. The Bible says, “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” (Romans 15:13). Pure joy does not depend on good circumstances; it thrives during trials and tribulations. Unleash the pure joy that already lives within, for He is faithful. Above all, promote pure joy and persevere in its promise.

Pure joy is the position and privilege of the person who follows Jesus Christ. Ironically, Jesus-generated joy is discovered and developed in the face of trials. Trials are designed to bring out God’s best and, consequently, your best as well. You’re going through your current trial by fire so that your faith can become more sincere and real during adversity’s affliction. This is your time to experience God’s faithfulness, for His joy and contentment are calming. The presence of Christ gives you reassurance and peace. He is the joy-giver, while Satan is the joy-killer.

Therefore, you can smile, because your smile, while enduring a trial, is the result of pure joy. It’s pure joy because God can be trusted. It’s pure joy because your faith is real and robust and Christ is faithful. It’s pure joy because you will persevere by faith. Indeed, untested faith is a naive faith. Until your faith has been refined through various trials, it will remain immature and judgmental. You can understand others’ perspectives and respect them more when you have been broken over your own inadequacies and sins. Trials slow you down enough to allow you to look into the mirror and ask what needs to change. How can you lead and serve your family and friends during this time of unprecedented turmoil and tentativeness? Pure joy comes as a result of your faith changing and growing.

Therefore, learn how to accept the pure joy of the Lord. It is available for you to receive. Do not see your present predicament as a setback. Instead, see your current condition as an opportunity—an opportunity to engage more deeply and more fully with your heavenly Father. Sometimes, it takes trials and tests to slow you down enough to look into the joyful face of Jesus. He is the personification of pure joy.

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Set Your Minds

  “Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things.” – Colossians 3:2

Even Christians can get out of focus in their daily lives. It would be nice to assume that everyone watching porn, everyone that buys drugs, everyone that is engaging in so many ungodly activities each day, were simply “the lost”. But unfortunately that is not the case.

Many good, saved, churchgoing people get caught up in the things of this world because they have allowed the temporary, short-term allure of sin to capture their mind. They have focused on the things of this world instead of on the things of God. For most, it happens slowly over a period of time. But by continually focusing on the things that this world has to offer instead of the things of God, they have ended up on roads that they never thought they would be on.

I am not telling you that you should stop having fun. I am however, issuing a warning to you today that when you start focusing too much on the things of this world and not enough time on the things of God, you are inviting major problems into your life. Remember, in the world, there is no right or wrong. There is no absolute truth. Again, that is why I encourage you daily to stay in the Bible, because God’s Word IS ABSOLUTE TRUTH. IT IS RIGHT AND WRONG.

The world’s goal is to be politically correct and not to offend anyone. The truth in God’s Word is highly offensive to many because it lays out clearly what is right and what is wrong, and those living in rebellion to God are then reminded that the freewill choices they have made are not in God’s will. I guess my question for you today is, are you more concerned with pleasing the world, or pleasing God?????

Caring about the things God cares about means that we will work for the eternal benefit of those around us. We will sacrifice our time, our talents, and our money to encourage and support others. We will focus on the needs of those around us, rather than on our own needs. We will desire to be known by our love, rather than by our bank account, our intellect, or our physical appearance. We will live a life of service rather than selfishness, of giving rather than greediness.

Let me close today again with a simple question, is your mind focused more on the things of this world or the things of God? Pray about that today.

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