Archive | June 2011

Self-Improvement Versus Supernatural Change

Although we are instructed in 1Timothy 4:7 to “train ourselves in godliness,” it is imperative that we remember that our transformation is not merely a self improvement program. Rather it is a supernatural life dependent on Christ who dwells in us to give us desire, direction, encouragement, strength and power for the process.  Shall we take a look at our motives for doing what we do? Is it for Christ’s glory? Shall we examine our ways as to whether we pride fully do things in our own strength or do we depend on His love, power and will? No matter how much effort we expend or cost we incur, only that which is done for Christ’s glory and in the power of the spirit has any real significance. Only these will remain for eternity.  Everything else amounts to nothing. 

I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser.” John 15:1 NASB

“Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5 NASB”I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5 NASB”I am the vine, you are the branches; he who abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for apart from Me you can do nothing.” John 15:4-5 NASB

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How Can God’s People Stop Doing Bad Things?

The Bible tells us that the heart of man is evil. So how can we do what is right? How can we keep ourselves from doing what is bad? Romans 12:21 gives us the answer. It tells us, “Don’t let evil get the best of you, but conquer evil by doing good.” It says to “conquer evil” how? By doing what is good. In other words, it is not enough to stop doing what is wrong. In order to be successful in conquering our ungodly habits and tendencies, we must replace the wrong doing with right doing. For example, if you are a thief, instead of taking, start giving. If you are tempted to gossip, say something good instead. If you struggle with immorality, put on morality. If you are unloving, start doing small acts of love.

You might say, “But I don’t feel like doing the right thing!” You can still choose to do it regardless of how you feel. Take control of your life by taking control of your feelings. As a born again child of God, you can make these kind of changes in your life with a decision and the help of your heavenly Father. Scripture says in Philippians 4:13, “I can do all things through Christ who gives me the strength I need.” God gives us strength to conquer evil by giving us strength to do what is good.

To God be the glory!

The Believer’s Judgment

Our eternal salvation is a free gift and not even one work is required from us in order to attain it. We are saved by grace through faith in Jesus Christ alone.
Yet it is clear throughout Scripture that there will be a judgment for believers. What is this judgment if not one to determine our life in heaven or hell? The judgment for believers is one where saints will receive rewards according to how they have lived their lives in Christ. We have been freed to choose Christ and His ways. Our free will is no longer in bondage to the prince of this world. Therefore, at the judgment seat, it stands to reason that we will be held accountable for our lifestyles and obedience to God. We will be held accountable for our willingness to surrender or not to surrender to the Holy Spirit as He moved in our lives with a purpose of conforming us to the image of Christ. How exciting that God would give us eternal rewards for doing what He has empowered us to do. We should be careful not to receive His grace in vain. May we walk in the spirit and power of Christ and receive the rewards that will affect us for all eternity.

2 Corinthians 5:10
“For we must all appear before the judgment seat of Christ, so that each one may be recompensed for his deeds in the body, according to what he has done, whether good or bad.”

We Walk by Faith

2 Corinthians 5:7, “for we walk by faith and not by sight – “

In this Scripture, Paul is addressing our anxiety concerning death.  Although we may experience some anxiety about what we have not yet experienced, namely heaven, we can have confidence that we will pass from this earth suit into eternal life with Christ. We will continue to live and we will live in a better place. Our hope is not in vain. It inspires us when facing death whether due to the natural progression of our lives from birth to death or due to persecution as experienced by the Apostle Paul.

Although it is not the context in which this Scripture is used, I also believe this verse can be applied to all of our challenging circumstances. We quote this Scripture often and with great confidence as long as things are moving along according to our plans or we at least understand why what is happening is happening. In other words, when we have sight, we have confidence. But when we have sight, faith is not needed.

It is in those times we cannot see purpose that our faith becomes known.  It is in our painful times that make no sense to the natural mind, we must grab hold of God and walk by faith. It is in the times we are clueless to why something is happening that our faith becomes our guide. And how about those times we cannot see what the outcome is going to be concerning a decision we have made? These, too, are times we must walk by faith trusting that God is indeed in control and has us in His hands.

When Jon and I made the decision to move from North Carolina to California, I admit there was some anxiety. Did I say some? Well, perhaps I should say, a lot. After all, we were moving from a place I knew to a place I knew not. I felt like Abraham when God said, “Go to a land I will show you” and Abraham just left the familiar to go somewhere else. He went without having a clue where he was going. Since I had not yet experienced life in the desert of California, I could only guess at what my life would be like there.

Everyone experiences trying times and times of uncertainty. Sometimes our circumstances appear to have no purpose or benefit whatsoever. Yet in these sightless times, we can have confidence that God is with us fulfilling His plan and purpose. We do not need to see what it is all about while in the midst of it. We just need to be able to see our God and know that He is always with us and will never forsake us. We do not need to understand the purpose, we just need to know God and have confidence in who He is and that His character  never changes.

Dispel Weariness, Fear & Unbelief

Are you weary? Fearful? Are you struggling with your trust in God and how He is responding or will respond to the affairs of your life? If so, you need to increase the time you are spending with Him. James 4:8 says, “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” Just as your love and trust, or lack of, is strengthened as you get to know the people in your life, the same is true in your relationship with God.
Draw near to Him by spending quiet time with Him. Read the Scripture. Then talk to Him and follow that with a time of quiet solitude where you can hear Him speak to you. You can know that He works ALL things (the good, the bad and the ugly) together for good according to HIS purpose and plan for those who LOVE Him and are CALLED according to His PURPOSE (Romans 8:28). Why remain in a state of unrest when you can know God and have peace in the midst of every challenging circumstance that may come your way. Today is the day to draw near to Him. You don’t need to wait until you are in that challenging situation. Get to know Him BEFORE the storm comes your way.
I came across the attached article “Quiet Time with God” and thought it was worthy to be shared. I pray it helps you to develop a special time for you and the Lord. As you do, your weariness, fear and unbelief will be eliminated as you grow in your knowledge of Him, experiencing His presence.  Quiet Time with God
For His Glory,
Sarah