Posts Tagged ‘Christianity’

Are you a successful Christian?

Jesus resurrected and Mary Magdalene
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You are the only one that can define your success, as a Christian or anything else that you set out to do. What you want from your Christian life could vary greatly from what I want from mine. The true meaning of what it means to be a Christian may be different for you than it is for someone else. We could say we are a success now, just because we call ourselves a Christian. But, what if we decide that our becoming a Christian, was really the sacrifice and work of Christ alone, that we just accepted Him as our Savior and that really, the road to Christianity is just beginning, and we have a long way to go before we reach success? That is what I decided and these are just some of the areas that I am working on, ways that I want to illustrate that Christ is King of my life.

I want to remember people, so they will remember me.

As a Christian, I want people to know I feel they are important by remembering their names and remembering important things they share with me. I want this not only because they are God‘s children and I should care about them because God does, but also so that they will be more likely to remember me. I want them to know I am there for them and can help them if they need it.

I want to remember that success is independent of age, education, failure and public opinion.

There are many other traits that you could put into this category that could be your stumbling blocks, but these particular ones have just been areas where I’ve personally had the most difficulty overcoming. The enemy uses these attributes as weapons against me often, wanting me to believe that my age, my education or lack thereof, a fear of failure and what other people think about me or my actions are legitimate reasons for me not being the best Christian I can be.

I had to generate a life purpose and remember it every day.

It’s tempting to get caught up in our families, jobs and even church work. Those things aren’t bad, but we know there is an eternal life beyond the one we are living. We have God’s Word as the instruction book for our lives. So, there are certain things we are commanded to do. Beyond our own wants and desires, we must concern ourselves greatly with the will and purposes of the Father. It’s easier and more beneficial to us, if we incorporate His will into our lives instead of keeping our plans and purposes separate from His. Our goal, as much as humanly possible, should be to let Him guide us into our purposes.

I have to work really hard to keep a positive attitude, and I fail often.

It would be nice if God could flip a switch in us, after we become Christians, that made us magically feel good all the time, regardless of the circumstances. Or, would it? I guess it kind of goes against the free will rule, doesn’t it? I know there are others like me who are trying really hard to bite their tongues, think before speaking and trying to leave work outside the door when they come home. But, I also know others that seem to never be ruffled, never speak a cross word, and seem to have a smile on their faces every time I see them. What is the secret? I do know that there was a time in my life when I didn’t even question my attitude, it never occurred to me that I had to be more open to others and less caustic when someone didn’t get my order right the first time. I praise the Lord for opening my eyes to my behaviors and attitudes, I guess that’s a good start.

I have to remember to have a sense of humor.

If you’ve spent any time in this world at all, you know our Lord has one. Otherwise, we would have never had the experience of seeing a giraffe or an anteater. And, how about the coldest winter on record after the big, bad, global warming scare? A co-worker made some special coffee at work one morning and told me it was ready. As I went into the break room, I noticed there was only enough left in the pot for one more cup. I was feeling particularly smug, being one of only a few who would have the privilege of drinking this delicious brew, as I poured the coffee into my styrofoam cup. I gazed out the window at the beautiful morning, and as I looked back down at my cup, to my utter horror, the coffee was going into the cup and right through the bottom side, where there was a hole the size of a dime. I hurried and grabbed another cup to hold underneath my damaged one, but I was only able to save a little less than half.  I was so disappointed, but I repented as I cleaned up the break room counter, and I laughed all the way back to my desk. I very much enjoyed my three drinks of coffee and as the scriptures tell us, I know the Lord was laughing too.

There’s so many other areas that the Lord is helping me with, like perseverance, dealing with change, and especially giving me courage through Him, so I can share Him with others. We have to remember we are, sometimes, our own worst enemy. Don’t stop learning and growing; you will be a successful Christian, if you will just allow Him to walk with you.

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If You Are Waiting on an Answer to Prayer, Read this Now!

Moses Sees the Promised Land from Afar, as in ...
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The act of praying is a mystery to me.  Sometimes prayer pours out of me as natural as breath, sometimes I struggle with it, to the point of almost giving up. Occasionally, we get answers immediately and there are times, we wait and wait and…some of us are still waiting for an answer.

Unanswered prayers are discouraging at the very least, but did you also know that unanswered prayer is an effective tool of the enemy? Think about it, how many times have you been hesitant to pray about anything while you’ve waited on an answer to a past prayer? If you’ve waited a long time, has resentment crept into your heart and are you giving God the silent treatment because you’ve not received an answer? How wonderful for the enemy if he can use an unanswered prayer to drive a wedge between us and our most effective power against him.

Please don’t allow this to happen. If you are still waiting on an answer, there’s three important things for you to know:

1. The answer could be No.

In Deuteronomy 3:26, Moses states, “But the Lord was wroth with me for your sakes, and would not hear me and the Lord said unto me, Let it suffice thee; speak no more unto me of this matter.” It’s not that I’m saying the Lord is angry with you for anything, but it could just be that the Lord has said no, and He means it. And, it may not be important for us to know the reason. Or, the reason could be revealed in the future. This is where faith and trust will be paramount for you, in that you must trust God that He is working everything out for the best and you must place your faith solidly in His hands.

2. Your sin is blocking God’s work.

In Isaiah 59, the Bible tells us, “Surely the arm of the LORD is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” And, again, in Psalms 66, “If I had cherished sin in my heart, the Lord would not have listened; but God has surely listened and has heard my prayer.”

If we are living in continual sin and not repenting and trying to clean up our lives, God isn’t going to mess with us. He has no choice but to separate Himself from sin and if we aren’t even trying and are just coming to Him with our shopping list, He’s going to close the store. That doesn’t mean you stop praying, just start refocusing your prayers on asking God to help clean you up, instead of on what you’ve asked Him about originally.

3. It’s Not About You

It could very well be that the reason your particular prayer hasn’t been answered is because God is letting things play out for your good (plans for a better future). Or, that your faith and patience requires growth. It’s at these times that we must remember our time is not the same as God’s time. However, more importantly, we have to recognize that we are not alone in the world. The waiting may not have anything to do with you at all. We tend to relate every event or circumstance to how it affects us, but sometimes it really isn’t about us at all. Our waiting could have everything to do with someone else. The reason we could still be waiting is because there is someone else’s well-being, possibly even their soul, at stake.

We are given everything that we need to know in the Lord’s book, the Bible. We have many promises from Him, and He has promised us that He will never leave us or forsake us. We should try to be satisfied with this gift, and leave the mysteries unknown.

Jeremiah’s Hope and Change

Rembrandt - Jeremiah lamenting

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It’s something America already knows about God, but it won’t touch her soul until she comes to the end of herself. She will discover that at the very bottom, God is there! The farther down we go, the more of God there is to be discovered. The best place to discover and recognize God is in the shadows of grief and despair.

When Jeremiah hit the dark bottom, he bumped into God! This is what Jeremiah learned:

“God is a God of compassion…his compassions for me cannot fail…they are new every morning…great is his faithfulness…” (Lamentations 3:22-23). Jeremiah realized that great truth can only be realized by those who are falling down.

1. We are at a very low point; when troubles flow over my heart like water, I say, “I am cut off,” but God draws near and whispers, “Do not fear!” (Lamentations 3:54-57).

2. When God seems to have “covered himself with a cloud, so that my prayers could not pass through,” he will still see our troubles and will “judge my case” (Lamentations 3:44, 59).

3. If the Lord allows grief and sorrow, he will at the same time uphold us with abundant compassion and love (Lamentations 3:32).

4. God is not against us, trying to crush us under his foot when we are down (Lamentations 3:34).

5. God is not trying to sabotage any of our plans; he is not causing confusion; he is not working against us (Lamentations 3:35-36).

6. Even in despair and bitterness, when it’s hard to face a new day, his compassion does not fail. His mercies are new every morning (Lamentations 3:22-23).

7. Because God is always faithful, he will not cast us away. He will do right by us and save us (Lamentations 3:25-26).

8. Being down will leave us empty and humbled, so hopefully we will begin to depend on his mercies! (Lamentations 3:18, 20-22).

We are falling down America! We have enemies, and some are from within. Are you looking to God to save you and your family? He’s the only one with true hope and change that will save us. Join me on my knees for our country.

The Vantage Point

The Christian Martyrs' Last Prayer, Oil on canvas

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It’s the moment you wish for death. Perhaps you prayed it would never come. It’s a sickness, a loss, a financial catastrophe, or an emotional trauma so horrendous, you don’t think you will survive. You are hurting, angry and confused. As a servant of God, how does one reconcile tragedy in the checkbook of life?

The answer lies in these first few verses of James:

(James 1:1-5 KJV)– 1 James, a servant of God and of the Lord Jesus Christ, to the twelve tribes which are scattered abroad, greeting. 2 My brethren, count it all joy when ye fall into divers’ temptations; 3 knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience. 4 But let patience have her perfect work, that ye may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing. 5 If any of you lack wisdom, let him ask of God, that giveth to all men liberally…and it shall be given him.

James’ purpose in writing this letter to the twelve tribes of Israel was to encourage them regarding the persecution they had suffered. They were scattered abroad, as told in the Book of Acts, after the death and resurrection of Jesus Christ. God allowed this, so they would go out into world, spreading the message of the gospel.

James tells them there are four responses they should exhibit during tragedy:

1. EXPECT

In the second verse, James writes, “My brethren, count it all joy, WHEN you fall into divers temptations.” It wasn’t IF, but WHEN. It’s going to happen, we will have tragedy. Because of sin, death and sickness, as well as hurt and pain, were realities for the Christians during the time of James, just like Christians today.

2. ENJOY

Another word in the second verse to notice is joy. Confusing, isn’t it? There’s more clarification in verses 3 and 4, “Knowing this, that the trying of your faith worketh patience, but let patience have her perfect work, that you may be perfect and entire, wanting nothing.” It’s not the actual tragedy we are to be joyful about, but the result. Read I Peter 1:7 (KJV), “that the trial of your faith, being much more precious than of gold that perisheth, though it be tried with fire, might be found unto praise and honour and glory at the appearing of Jesus Christ.” When gold is refined, it is burned at 1900 degrees to remove the dross. But, Peter is informing us that through this refining, we will one day be given praise, honor and glory.

3. EVALUATE

Again in verse two, notice that we are supposed to “count it” all joy. When you count, you are calculating. Anyone can experience tragedy, but it takes wisdom to evaluate what the profit might be. This is where verse five comes in, because it tells us that if we lack wisdom, all we have to do is ask God for some. And please notice that it doesn’t say that He might give it to us. James tells us that He WILL give it to us liberally. When I was a little girl, and I couldn’t see something, I would open my arms, lift them high, and ask my father to pick me up. When my father lifted me, I could then get a look at what he saw. When we ask the Lord for wisdom, we are asking the Lord to pick us up, so we can view our situation through His eyes.

4. ENDURE

In verse three, James tells us that the trying of our faith brings us patience. We have no choice but to walk through the trying of our faith. Sadly, some are not patient and give up, forgetting the words of Romans 8:28, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are called according to His purpose” (KJV). But, if we endure, God has a promise for us: “Blessed is the man that endureth temptation: for when he is tried, he shall receive the crown of life, which the Lord hath promised to them that love him.” (James 1:12 KJV)

Where is the vantage point? It’s not in the traffic! Ask the Lord to lift you out of the chaos and up to the control tower. If we fail to ask for the outlook only God can give, we will wreck our lives instead of enjoying the gift He has given us.

Mind Control

"Satan Sowing Seeds" by Felicien Rop...

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Fear, Depression, Loneliness, Anger, Doubt, Confusion, Insecurity, Hopelessness, Worry, Self-pity. These are various seeds that can be found in the enemy’s pockets. We suffer unnecessarily because we allow these seeds to grow that we let Satan and his minions plant.

The good news is that each lie can be overcome with prayer, faith and the truth of God‘s Word.

We have to be aware that the enemy will try to steal God’s Word from us.  His dialogue goes something like this:

“Did God really say that?” Or, “Does God really mean that?”

“Will God really care if you do that?” and “Do you really think God is paying any attention to you at all?”

How about when he contradicts God’s Word altogether: “God didn’t say that!”,  and “God is withholding good things from you because of what you’ve done!”

We have to recognize that we are being set up. If you stop going with how you feel and hold up these lies to God’s Word, the enemy will be exposed everytime. We have to determine, right now, what we will accept in our mind and what has to go. Every sin begins with a thought in our minds.

If we don’t control our minds, the enemy will. God is not the author of confusion. When we fill our minds with thoughts of God, prayers to God, meditation on His Word, books and magazines that glorify Him, service to others, the welfare of our families and our Christian brothers and sisters, there is a lot less room for the enemy to enter in.

A great way to determine whether or not your thoughts are from the enemy is to ask yourself if they are thoughts that you would want your children to have, or if they are thoughts that someone you know, that loves you, would want you to have. If they are not, then chances are highly likely that they are from the enemy.

Thoughts from the enemy are condemning. Thoughts from our Father are convicting. There is a huge difference. Our price has been paid, we are free, and there is no condemnation from our Savior.

Romans 8:6–For to be carnally minded is death, but to be spiritually minded is life and peace.

Isaiah 26:3–You will keep him in perfect peace, Whose mind is stayed on You, Because he trusts in You.

Memorize these as soon as possible and repeat them to yourself when your thought life is being attacked. They can be your armor against the one who seeks to kill and destroy. Don’t be a victim, you are a warrior!

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