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Archive for the ‘The Surrendered Life’ Category

We live in such a crazy and sin sick world.  The news is depressing.  You, like me have probably turned it all off for a few days at a time.  We just can’t stand to hear anything else BAD.  What I am about to write may seem to simplistic, however it is true.  If we focus on things that are lovely, of good report, etc.  our minds won’t be so stressed by the things of this world.  Give it a try and see how much better you feel.

Page after page can be written about a person’s life.  We call this a biographical view of an individual.  However, sometimes a biography can be summed up in just a few words.  These expressions refer to the character and/or impact someone had on the lives of those they lived around.  Last year, in our ladies ministries of the UPCI we focused on “Leaving a LEGACY”.  Usually when you mention someone’s name who has gone on to their reward you don’t go into a great dissertation.  You simply say things like, “He was a GOOD man”.  “What a man of WISDOM”.  “She was such a LADY”.  “She was a QUEEN”,  etc. and we all know what you are talking about.  That one word pretty much sums it up, how a person lived their life.

When Peter was sharing the Gospel with Cornelius and his household, before pointing to the Crucified Christ and the forgiveness of sins that can be received in His Name…He summed up the life of Christ like this:

Acts 10:38 How God anointed Jesus of Nazareth with the Holy Ghost and with power: who went about doing good, and healing all that were oppressed of the devil; for God was with him.

GOOD is what we can expect associated with God.

GOODNESS is what marked the essence of Jesus being here on earth.  He was GOOD to others.  It wasn’t because they deserved it but because it was needed and would ultimately bring glory to God. 

When Jesus was to come on the world scene it was announced by angels with GOODNESS….Luke says it like this, “Fear Not, for behold I bring you GOOD NEWS of a great joy that will be for all the people.  For unto you is born this day in the city of David a Savior, who is Christ the Lord.”

Jesus came to earth during a time when there was definitely a need for some GOODNESS.  We live in such a time right now, today!  Among all the bad news there is need for GOOD NEWS and maintaining our focus on Jesus!  If we seriously focus on the GOODNESS of Jesus and portray that in our lives, then we will have opportunity to share the GOOD NEWS with people in this trying time.  Folks will want to know why you can be so happy and peaceful in this time of insecurity.  Keep your focus on JESUS! 

Turn your eyes upon Jesus.  Look full in His wonderful face.  And the things of this world will grow strangely dim, in the light of His glory and grace.

Have a GOOD Day for GOODNESS sake. 

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Discouragement causes weariness to creep into our lives.  It causes us to say and do things we would never consider saying or doing otherwise.  Discouragement breaks down our perspective.  Sometimes it comes even when we have just completed something great for God.  It will tell us that we are useless, hopeless and abandoned.

The story of Elijah has always captured my attention.  (I Kings 19) Here is this great prophet of God, after he has won a mighty victory over the prophets of Baal, hiding under a tree.  What ever for?  God has just used him to prove that he is the true and mighty God and Elijah is off hiding somewhere and begging God to just go ahead and take his life. This was all less than a day after the fire fell from heaven.  Hmmm…before we are too quick to judge Elijah, let’s look at our own life.  How many times have we come from a “mountain top” experience, only to plummet to depths of discouragement.  Discouragement will make you hide.  Are you trying to hide today because of discouragement?  In the 5th verse of I Kings 19, an angel of the Lord appeared to Elijah as he slept and woke him up and said, “Arise and eat”.  When Elijah awoke there was a cake, baked on the grill and a bottle of water for him to drink.  Elijah ate and drank and then went back to sleep.  The poor man was exhausted.  Yes, he had just been through the ringer, so to speak, but he had also allowed discouragement to make him weary.  The angel of the Lord came the second time, woke him up, had a meal prepared and said, “Eat, for the journey is too great for you”.  To make a long story short…The Lord allowed Elijah a few days to rest and in the process took care of him with food and water and an angel guard as he slept.  However, when the time was right, just a few verses down in the same chapter, Elijah is bemoaning the “fact” that he and only he was left as the servant of God.  The Lord allowed him to say this a couple of times and then He said, “Elijah!  Look around you.  There are 7,000 who have not bowed to Baal or kissed him.”  In other words,  It is time for you to get over your pity party and come join the rest of us. 🙂

Remember this, even in times of discouragement….God will not leave you or forsake you.  He will give you time to rest.  He will supply your needs (a cake baked on the coals and water).  He will send His protecting angel to stand by you as you gather yourself together.  And, then….He will let you know, in His good way that He is still good.  The church is moving on.  There are thousands that still believe and trust in the one true God.  It is time to shake the discouragement off and continue to go about the Lord’s work.

If it’s time for you today to come out from under the broom tree, then get up! Shake yourself and Have a GREAT day, knowing He is still in control.  “Jezebel” can’t harm you.  People that have tried to “take you down”  won’t be able to.  God is your fortress.  He is your right, left, front and back guard.  NO ONE can separate you from the love of Jesus.

Keep on keepin’ on!  Let discouragement go today.  As you do this, you will find peace and healing for your hurting heart.  Will everything be perfect?  Of course not.  We haven’t made it to heaven yet.  However, life will be much better, knowing that God is in control.  Your enemies are under His feet.

Be Blessed!

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On our blogs we have had favorite teacher surveys and talked of people who we felt have influenced our lives the most. We’ve asked each other the question, “Who do you consider to have had the most impact on your life”? These are good things and people to talk about. We all have “heroes”. There are surveys out all the time about who the most influential men and women are in the world. However, who’s impact/influence has stood the test of time?

Socrates? He taught for 40 years, Plato for 50, Aristotle for 40, and Jesus for only 3-1/2. Yet the influence of Jesus 3-1/2 year ministry infinitely transcends the impact left by the combined 130 years of teaching from these men who were among the greatest philosophers of all time. Jesus painted no pictures; yet, some of the finest paintings of Raphael, Michelangelo, and Leonardo da Vinci received their inspiration from Him. Jesus wrote no poetry; but Dante, Milton and scores of the world’s greatest poets were inspired by Him. Jesus composed no music; still Haydn, Handel, Beethoven, Bach, and Mendelssohn reached their highest perfection of melody in the hymns, symphonies and oratories they composed in His praise. Every sphere of human greatness has been enriched by this humble Carpenter of Nazareth.

Though some would like to deny it, the most worthy impact Jesus has had in the lives of men, women and children through the ages continues even today. How is His impact on you, today, personally? Is he still the beautiful rose of Sharon, the lily in the valley, the power that is found in His name, the one who gives you a song in the night….?

There may be many people to whom we are thankful for the influence they presently have or have had on our life. However, I hope and pray that the most influential people in our life be those who are also most influenced by Jesus Christ! Better yet, is that we have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. If we are under the control of His influence we can become the greatest influence in the lives of others as well!

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Christian LIVING implies the idea of being alive. Being alive implies movement. Movement implies direction. Direction implies destination.

When Paul wrote to the church in Phillipi he noted the focus of his life as a Christian. Even though he had been involved in much fruitful ministry, instead of resting on his past successes, his involvement in the work of God continued. Not only was this necessary for the sake of others, but when action ceases, the life tends to become stagnant or complacent and soon one can find themselves slipping away.

Philippians 3: 12-14

Not as though I had already attained, either were already perfect: but I follow after, if that I may apprehend that for which also I am apprehended of Christ Jesus.

Brethren, I count not myself to have apprehended: but this one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind, and reaching forth unto those things which are before,

I press toward the mark for the prize of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus.

Paul always made diligent effort to press upward and strain forward. To press on in spite of challenges (even through his present imprisonment) implies DETERMINATION! No coasting, but rather PURPOSEFUL MOTION! Is our life marked in the same manner or have we chosen the path of least resistance? Have we decided to sit down where we are and go no further? This Christian life does take determination. It does take effort. It must be approached purposefully. It won’t just happen by itself anymore than getting to the top of a mountain will. We have to purposely put one foot in front of the other and press onward and upward. We must choose our steps carefully and ask the Lord’s guidance.

May God richly bless you as you continue walking and pressing onward and upward on purpose.

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At the root of many of life’s challenges is the refusal to acknowledge God’s Sovereign Will! Since He is the Author and Creator of life, what is often needed most is to get back to the basics of what He has declared true from the beginning of time!

We read in Proverbs: 30: 5-6 Every word of God is tried and purified; He is a shield to those who trust and take refuge in Him. Add not to His words, lest He reprove you, and you be found a liar. (Amplified Bible)

Yes! Even in the year 2008 we can count on His counsel. We can rely on His direction.

When Jesus spoke on the subject of anxiousness in life, He said this, “But seek ye FIRST the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things will be added unto you.” Matthew 6:33

It is God’s ways and will that we need to continually seek as the basic foundation for our life. Some folks seem to live by the philosophy, “When all else fails, seek God!” However, we will be spared MUCH frustration, pain and time if we would seek God’s way FIRST.

I want the root of my walk in this life to be that which goes deep in drawing from the Will and Word of God, seeking God first and foremost in everything I do.

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There is a little girl, Madeleine in our church. easter-2007-013-large-web-view.jpg She is six years old. Her dad, Rodney and mom, Mindy and little brother, Joshua also attend our church. One day Rodney came down stairs and Madeleine was playing and she said, “Dad, are we going to church?” and he said, “Well, of course we are going to church Madeleine.” To which she responded, “Oh good. God is my Life”. Rodney being taken back a little asked, “Madeleine, what did you just say”? and she repeated it, “God is my life, Dad”. As Rodney relayed this to the adult bible class I was deeply touched. I pray that Madeleine keeps that focus as she grows and matures. And then I wondered…how many people really live their life that way. Is God really our life? How much of our life CENTERS around HIM. Paul wrote about this centered life focus in his letter to the church at Colossae.

Colossians 3: 2-4

2 Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.

3 For ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.

4 When Christ, who is our life, shall appear, then shall ye also appear with him in glory.

Our life is to revolve around Him and His will. If that is not the case, then all we are set to experience is the devastation of eternal loss. However, if we maintain a life centered around God then we have the hope of appearing with Him in glory! I hope that “God is my life!” truly is our motto. There is no better life!

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Transitions are not always easy. Leaving what is familiar and stepping into what may not be fully known can create some anxiety. I know that when we left Texarkana, Texas after 20 years was not the easiest thing I have ever done, but I am so glad I was surrendered to HIS will and purpose.  I have lived long enough to realize that life is filled with transitions. Not only are those transitions associated with movement from a familiar place into a new one, but also in our day to day activities: school, jobs, relationships, economic status, etc.

THE ONLY THING that can make these transitions easier is through focusing on that which does not change. For us to keep our bearings in life and remain on the right path, we have to fix our eyes on that which remains constant.

Malachi 3:6 says: For I am the Lord, I change not…

Hebrews 13:8 says: Jesus Christ the same yesterday and today and forever!

Consistency all the way! We even sometimes see people around us change and so we don’t always know what to expect. But that is not the case with God. I’m thankful for something I can count on in the midst of a constantly changing world.

Some of the transitions we go through are because of changes that we NEED to make. We are still in the process of becoming what God wants us to be. However, when it comes to HIM and HIS will there is no need for change because perfection cannot be improved upon.

As we go through transitions in our life, no matter how small or how great, remember that God is still God, Jesus is still the Lord of lords and King of kings, and the truth remains the foundation for supporting and building up our life.

If you will keep this focus, you will not have to much anxiety about changes in life.

HE NEVER CHANGES! Keep your eyes on HIM!

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