Tag Archives: choices

Great Expectations

SunriseThis morning I was reminded that there are great expectations from those who called to carry out the great commission, as I sat enjoying a warm cup of tea as I prepared myself mentally for the day ahead. While I sipped, I pondered on my rebelliousness toward God’s direction for a spirit led life over the last week or so and couldn’t help but frown at the foolishness of my ways.

Let me back up a bit so I don’t leave you lost in the transition of my mind’s rambling without adequate content and context with which you can refer to. Last week I decided that people expect too much from me. I’ve never hidden my Christianity nor have I tried to hide my passion for God and the things of God. In fact I’ve done quite the opposite; I’ve taken every chance I got to let people around me know that I serve Jesus and how much I’m in love with Him. I invite others to share in this wonderful experience of salvation and encourage them to look to Jesus as the author and finisher of their faith. This wasn’t a problem until I came to the realization that I’ve put myself in the spotlight and there’s a target aimed directly at my head. You see, in a world where religion and God has somehow become the oppressive enemy of the human race when you decide to openly express your belief in God and practice the teachings of His doctrine people tend to look at you.

If everyone who looked on had good intentions or did so with the understanding that you’d slip up sometimes that would be great or at least considered fair. If somehow people could see that amid all the passion and excitement, you; just like anyone else, was figuring this whole “God thing” out and don’t quite have all the answers or solutions to every situation you encounter, then maybe your walk with Christ might feel a lot less burdensome at times. This however isn’t always the case. It seems that the greater your passion and excitement for God, the more likely you are to draw attention to yourself. What that attention does is cause people to assume you’re always going to have a firm grip on things or cause to wait with bated breath for the moment you slip up.

For me I can’t say that I know of anyone who is waiting for me to slip up but people around me tend to think that I’m supposed to somehow have the right answers and make the right decisions all the time. I’m constantly reminded that I’m a role model and others are looking at me. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not upset or bothered that I’m considered a role model; on the contrary, I think it’s a fantastic thing that my passion fuels others to draw closer to God, but last week the expectations of others felt like such a burden that I decided to change the rules a bit. I deliberately made bad decisions. I found myself in situations where I sat down and thought through the possible choices I could make and how they would affect my relationship with God and I chose to do the wrong thing. It wasn’t an accident or a spur of the moment thing.

I CONSCIOUSLY MADE BAD CHOICES!

In hindsight, I feel so ashamed and broken that I spent time with the Savior, got to know Him intimately and then dipped my hand in the bread basket at the same time he did, only to betray him later on with a metaphorical kiss of death. Like Judas I chose to go against the God that loved me and have been so gracious and loving to me. I willingly persecuted Him to avoid living up to the reality that as a child of God who is called to the great commission I was expected to live a righteous and holy life unto my King.

So that’s where I was a couple weeks ago. I was dipping my toes at the edge of sin’s ocean, all the while wondering how deep I could go before I would begin to drown. Thankfully I serve a God who’s ways are not like mine and who loves me much more than I could ever love Him. Just as I began to think about moving past my toes and actually getting my feet wet, his guiding arms skillfully wrapped themselves around my torso and carried me to safety. My rebelliousness lasted all of two days before I started getting “the messages”. We’ve all experienced “the messages”. It’s when God gets your attention by sending you the same message everywhere you turn; facebook, twitter, the radio, conversations at work, etc. You know what I mean right?

So, God got my attention and he began to show me my heart. I cried bitterly when the reality of my thoughts and actions were revealed to me. When I realized how subtly I began my descent from Christianity into things worldly. Who would have thought that me; a passionate woman of God with a call upon her life who have experienced the awesomeness of God’s power time and time again, could be so easily fooled by the enemy? And just like that, I snapped back to reality, climbed off of the pedestal I’d mounted and decided to start over, recommitting my life and surrendering all over  again to  the one who shed His blood for my salvation.

So that’s where I was this morning; taking part in an ongoing pity party, when God reminded me:

” to whom much is given, much is expected”

You see, when we come to Christ we get to take advantage of all the wonderful things He has for us. We are recipients of Grace, Love, Peace, Joy, Strength, Comfort, Various Gifts and so much more. If we are to be partakers of all this then we must embrace God’s command that we live holy and acceptable lives unto Him. It’s not right to abuse grace or consciously go against God’s word because we have mercy and forgiveness available to us. In as much as we expect God to honor His word and promises to us, so to we must live out His commandments and be the difference in the world today, so that His name would be glorified.

I know that no one is perfect. That we all make mistakes and slip up sometimes but in as much as we can, I believe we should always choose to please God. We should let nothing get in the way of our relationship with Him and more than ever we should let our light shine before men so that His name would be glorified in heaven. We are the salt of the earth and to lose our flavor means to lose our effectiveness. I can’t say it would be easy (actually I can guarantee you that it will get hard sometimes) but I can assure you it will be worth it. Keep the faith, fight the good fight and at the end of the race I pray that we all hear

“Well done, thou good and faithful servant”

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Divine Appointments

Read Matthew 5:4

Jesus tells his disciples that those who mourn will be comforted.

There is something good waiting beyond disappointment for each of us. There are appointments that God has destined. There are good works for each of us to do. And isn’t it interesting that the word appointment comes from within the word disappointment?

I’ve often marveled at that because I’ve seen again and again how disappointments take something from us: a dream, a piece of our hearts—maybe whole chucks of it. But disappointment leaves something too: a gift, an opportunity, the possibility of creating change. This means we can move from the valley of the shadow of death to new horizons and bring others with us on that road.

The enemy would like us to feel such a depth of disappointment that we never find our way back to the plan God has for us. If he can convince us to stay stuck in our disappointment, we’ll miss many of our future God appointments. I realize that some disappointments seem so big that we can’t imagine ever being able to move beyond them. We ask deep questions and they go unanswered. For example, when someone dear to us dies, no explanation will satisfy the questions crying out inside. But even for these tragedies, God has made a way.

When a precious couple named Maria and Dimitri lost their fourteen-year-old-son, Peter, they had many unanswered questions. They struggled mightily but they didn’t try to answer them. Instead, they determined to walk down that road of disappointment and heartbreak with Jesus. On the day of Peter’s funeral, still burdened with pain, sorrow, and grief, their family made a decision. Even though they did not understand why this tragedy had occurred, they would continue to trust God. They would keep on believing his promises.

They proclaimed at the funeral: Today is a sad day, but it is not a bad day. The devil thinks he has the victory because our son has died. But our son is alive with his Jesus, and is partying in heaven. The devil has not won. We are not burying our child today, but we are sowing him as seed into the soil of this nation. We believe in a mighty harvest of young people to spring forth. Out of one death, there shall arise new life.

Their words said, this family bruised by grief but beautiful with belief stood silently. There is a road through disappointment. Disappointment is not an end but an opportunity for a divine appointment.

Point to Ponder

One disappointment, or even more than one, does not mean that all the good works God ordained for you long before you were born are now impossible. There are still many ahead of you, beyond the disappointment. You can choose to allow God to propel you into the next chapter of good works God has destined for you.

Source: Devotions by Christine Caine via BibleGateway

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Daily Dose: No More Compromise

broken-chain

John 8:32 And ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.

Today I write from a place of renewed strength. I once had a fire for God and the things of God, but somewhere on my journey I began to compromise.

Compromising began in my mind first, then it found it’s way into my conversations and soon enough in my actions. I can’t trace compromise back to it’s roots. I don’t know the date or time when I started to entertain things that I knew where contrary to what my Father wanted for my life. All I know right now, is that I don’t need to see the root of this problem to change it, the fact that I can see a stem to hold on to means I can hold firm and root it up.

It’s like a carrot; you don’t see the vegetable but in faith you grab hold of it’s stem and pull it up from the ground. That’s the kind of faith I’m standing on today. The bible says that we will know the truth and it will make us free. In order for us to be made free we need to exercise the power and authority given to us through the truth (the word of God) and use it to overcome the problems in our lives.

There’s always going to be a time in life when we have to choose to do the right thing. Making that choice isn’t always easy or fun or simple for that matter, but it will definitely be worth it. I’m no longer going to entertain compromise. I read this somewhere before “Wrong is wrong even if everybody’s doing it and right is still right even if no one is doing it.” I believe this and I’m going to try and live it.

Sometimes we just need to be radical about our stance for God and our love for Him and just do the right thing. I know that there are some situations where it’s not as easy to do this. Sometimes we need to pray and fast and wait on God’s perfect strength to see us through, but I honestly believe that we battle with some things simply because we refuse to stand firm on the word of God and despise those things which are not of Him. If He’s already said it in His word, that some things in our lives don’t please Him then it’s time we get radical and just let go of those things, understanding that letting go will work for our good.

Is there anything you’ve been toying with in your life that you know is contrary to the word of God? If there is then maybe the time has come for you too to stop compromising as well.

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Daily Dose – Pass The Test

Joseph Flees

Deuteronomy 13:3……………for the Lord your God is testing you to know whether you love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul.

I read this scripture this morning and went “wow”.

Have you ever been in that place where you have a choice to make, and the option to do wrong is extremely appealing. So much so that it pains to make the right decision?

I have! And I can tell you, being in place or space where it hurts to do what is right before God, is one of the most depressing experiences to have.

I think of Joseph when he was faced with Potiphar’s wife throwing herself at him. Imagine his predicament; this beautiful woman willingly giving her body to you and you need to decide whether to give in to your natural desire to lay with her, or to flee and not sin against God.

Joseph knew what his relationship with God meant. His love for God superseded his desire for a woman’s body and in that moment when tested he showed his faithfulness to the God if Israel .

Like Joseph, we too will be faced with situations where God will look to see whether our desire is truly for Him or not. There are circumstances in your life that God allows to happen to test your faithfulness to Him and your obedience to His word.

What will your test results say?

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Daily Dose – Temptation

don-t-fight-with-temptation-expose-it

Matthew 4:11  Then the devil left Him, and behold, angels came and ministered to Him

Matthew chapter 4 tells of when Jesus was tempted by the devil after fasting for forty days.

The word of God promises that we would not be given more than we can bear and God will provide a way out for us during times of temptation. For each temptation that came Jesus’ way the word of God was His way out.

In verse 11 of chapter 4  we see that it wasn’t until AFTER Jesus resisted temptation, did the angels come and minister to Him. We all have angels assigned to us and they wait for such time when they can come and minister to our hearts as well.

Sometimes though, when faced with temptation we give in rather than stand on God’s promise that he will provide a way out (1 Corinthians 10:13). Afterward we find ourselves going before God seeking forgiveness; this isn’t a bad thing because God is gracious, merciful and faithful to forgive our sins.

However when I think about it, I’d much prefer resist temptation and have my encounter with the angels than seek forgiveness for succumbing to sin. In times of temptation we are faced with two choices: Give in or resist.

The possibility that I will be ministered unto by Holy angels when I resist temptation is one more reason for me to choose to do right by God.

What will you do when it’s your time to choose?

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The Battle for Balance – Mary Southerland

Psalm 5:3 In the morning, Lord, you hear my voice; in the morning I lay my requests before you and wait expectantly.

The reality for each one of us is that every moment of every day is focused on someone or something. We either set the focus through which we live and view life or we allow it to be set for us. A balanced life is focused on God as a result of sitting at His feet.

What does it mean to “sit at the feet of Jesus”? First of all, we have to stop. Now that is a novel idea for many of us. Mary stopped what she was doing—helping Martha in the kitchen—to come and sit at the feet of Jesus. Of course, Martha immediately began complaining that she had been left to do all of the work while her sister was wasting time. Listen, my friend, there will always be someone who will misunderstand or complain when you choose to do what Jesus told Martha was “the better part” (Luke 10:42).

But Martha was distracted by her many tasks; so she came to him and asked, “Lord, do you not care that my sister has left me to do all the work by myself? Tell her then to help me.” But the Lord answered her, “Martha, Martha, you are worried and distracted by many things; there is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part, which will not be taken away from her” (Luke 10:40-42).

Notice the word “chosen” used in this passage. Mary made a choice, and so must we. Making a choice to sit at the feet of Jesus requires decisive planning, purposeful scheduling, and willful determination. God wants relationship-building time with us every day, which means time at His feet, in His presence, must be our highest priority. It is absolutely amazing to me how I can squander away the best part of my day, leaving Him with the leftovers and scraps of time, and then have the audacity to complain that my life is void of power and purpose. Distractions come from every side. Some of those distractions are good and wonderful things, but they are all still wrong things if they keep us from spending time with God.

Jesus gently rebuked Martha because she had forgotten what was really important. Oswald Chambers writes, “We can choke God’s Word with a yawn; we can hinder the time that should be spent with God by remembering we have other things to do. ‘I haven’t time!’ Of course you have time! Take time, strangle some other interests, and make time to realize that the center of power in your life is the Lord Jesus Christ.”

Every day you and I choose where we will invest our time. We plan and schedule everything from hair appointments to lunch with friends, but we sometimes fail to schedule the most eternal activity in this life, spending time with God. Do you need the power to live your life above your circumstances? Are you desperate for the peace and balance only He can bring? Do you long for a relationship that will energize you to carry the burdens and passions of this life? Then it is time to take inventory of the demands upon your time and begin sitting at His feet.

Being wrapped up in God’s work can easily become a shabby substitute for being wrapped up in His presence. The paradox is that we can only be wrapped up in God’s presence when we stop and learn how to wait on Him. While I absolutely hate to wait on anyone or for anything, I am learning that there is a divine purpose and sacred power made available to us in every waiting room of life. Waiting robs me of control. I am forced to face the unknown. Waiting on God may well provide the catalyst that will change my very life course. In each waiting room, He is at work preparing me for the circumstance and the circumstance for me. “Listen to my voice in the morning, Lord. Each morning I bring my requests to you and wait expectantly” (Psalm 5:3 nlt). From those still, quiet moments of waiting and seeking comes a sacred balance that takes root and grows. It is through the choice to wait on God that a seeking heart finds every need met and light in the darkness.

We not only must stop and be still in order to sit at the feet of Jesus, we must learn to listen. Deuteronomy 30:19-20 instructs us with these words: “Now choose life, so that you and your children may live and that you may love the Lord your God, listen to his voice, and hold fast to him. For the Lord is your life.” I know that many voices clamor for our attention. The key to a balanced life is to train our hearts toward God and teach our spiritual ears to listen for His voice above all the others.

I taught third grade for several years while Dan attended Southwestern Seminary in Fort Worth, Texas. I was fortunate to be assigned to one of the largest and best elementary schools in town. My class was one of seven third-grade classes in the school, which meant that the first few days of school were always chaotic. The PE teacher was a welcome sight when she appeared at my door to take the students out to the playground. After PE, it was the responsibility of each teacher to pick up her students. Seven teachers trying to get the attention of over 200 students was especially interesting on the first or second day of school when the teachers did not know their students and the students did not know their teachers. However, after only a few days, an amazing thing happened every year. When we lined up to gather our children, it took only a word or two for them to come running. They quickly learned to recognize the voice of their new teacher above all the rest because they listened to her voice all day long in the classroom. We must do the same. In every circumstance and situation, we need to listen for His voice.

Sitting at the feet of Jesus resets our life focus. It is in those moments when we have stopped long enough to hear Him speak that the battle for balance is won. It is after we have been still before Him that we are empowered to embrace a life of balance

Let’s Pray
Father, help me learn to cherish and make time to simply sit at Your feet and be in Your presence. At the same time, Lord, show me how to live a life of integrity in which I am a person of my word. Teach me how to discipline my steps and invest my time in a way that pleases You and honors the plan You have for my life. Only You can bring a holy balance to my life as I surrender my agenda and every priority to Your perfect plan. I do that right now.
In Jesus’s name,
Amen.

*Excerpt taken from Biblegateway’s Girlfriends in God

Share a testimony with us – testifywithme@gmail.com or on facebook

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Ducks Quack, Eagles Soar

No one can make you serve customers well….that’s because great service is a choice.
Harvey Mackay, tells a wonderful story about a cab driver that proved this point.
He was waiting in line for a ride at the airport. When a cab pulled up, the first thing Harvey noticed was that the taxi was polished to a bright shine. Smartly dressed in a white shirt, black tie, and freshly pressed black slacks, the cab driver jumped out and rounded the car to open the back passenger door for Harvey .

He handed my friend a laminated card and said: ‘I’m Wally, your driver. While I’m loading your bags in the trunk I’d like you to read my mission statement.’

Taken aback, Harvey read the card.. It said: Wally’s Mission Statement: To get my customers to their destination in the quickest, safest and cheapest way possible in a friendly environment…

This blew Harvey away. Especially when he noticed that the inside of the cab matched the outside. Spotlessly clean!

As he slid behind the wheel, Wally said, ‘Would you like a cup of coffee? I have a thermos of regular and one of decaf.’ My friend said jokingly, ‘No, I’d prefer a soft drink.’ Wally smiled and said, ‘No problem.. I have a cooler up front with regular and Diet Coke, water and orange juice…’ Almost stuttering, Harvey said, ‘I’ll take a Diet Coke.’

Handing him his drink, Wally said, ‘If you’d like something to read, I have The Wall Street Journal, Time, Sports Illustrated and USA Today.’

As they were pulling away, Wally handed my friend another laminated card, ‘These are the stations I get and the music they play, if you’d like to listen to the radio.’

And as if that weren’t enough, Wally told Harvey that he had the air conditioning on and asked if the temperature was comfortable for him. Then he advised Harvey of the best route to his destination for that time of day. He also let him know that he’d be happy to chat and tell him about some of the sights or, if Harvey preferred, to leave him with his own thoughts.

‘Tell me, Wally,’ my amazed friend asked the driver, ‘have you always served customers like this?’

Wally smiled into the rear view mirror. ‘No, not always.. In fact, it’s only been in the last two years. My first five years driving, I spent most of my time complaining like all the rest of the cabbies do. Then I heard the personal growth guru, Wayne Dyer, on the radio one day.

He had just written a book called You’ll See It When You Believe It. Dyer said that if you get up in the morning expecting to have a bad day, you’ll rarely disappoint yourself. He said, ‘Stop complaining! Differentiate yourself from your competition. Don ‘t be a duck. Be an eagle. Ducks quack and complain. Eagles soar above the crowd.’

‘That hit me right between the eyes,’ said Wally. ‘Dyer was really talking about me. I was always quacking and complaining, so I decided to change my attitude and become an eagle. I looked around at the other cabs and their drivers. The cabs were dirty, the drivers were unfriendly, and the customers were unhappy. So I decided to make some changes. I put in a few at a time. When my customers responded well, I did more.’

‘I take it that has paid off for you,’ Harvey said.

‘It sure has,’ Wally replied. ‘My first year as an eagle, I doubled my income from the previous year. This year I’ll probably quadruple it. You were lucky to get me today. I don’t sit at cabstands anymore. My customers call me for appointments on my cell phone or leave a message on my answering machine. If I can’t pick them up myself, I get a reliable cabbie friend to do it and I take a piece of the action.’

Wally was phenomenal. He was running a limo service out of a Yellow Cab. I’ve probably told that story to more than fifty cab drivers over the years, and only two took the idea and ran with it. Whenever I go to their cities, I give them a call. The rest of the drivers quacked like ducks and told me all the reasons they couldn’t do any of what I was suggesting.

Wally the Cab Driver made a different choice. He decided to stop quacking like ducks and start soaring like eagles.

How about us? Smile, and the whole world smiles with you… The ball is in our hands!
A man reaps what he sows. Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest=if we do not give up… let us do good to all people.

Ducks Quack, Eagles Soar.

Have a nice day, unless you already have other plans.
SORROW looks back, WORRY looks around.

God Bless You!

DISCLAIMER: The words in this article are not my own and I am unsure who the author is. I simply saw a remarkable message in this story and I wanted to share.

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Choose Ye This Day

If you want Religion and /or Tradition handed down, do not read this.

But if you want God:

You see friends, Proverbs 14:12 says, “There is a way which seems right unto man but the end thereof are the ways of death.

YOU HAD NO CHOICE

You may have been born into a Christian home, Hindu home, Muslim home, or any other religious home for that matter. That does not save you or get you in to heaven.

You had no choice regarding which family you were born into, but since you were born into that family home you enjoyed all the privileges of entering and partaking in whatever was available there.

YOUR CHOICE

You choose your mate, house, car etc. etc. (at least I hope you did). Well, praise god, he now gives you an opportunity to choose where you want to spend your ‘ETERNITY’. This choice is yours, not mother, father, sister,brother or anyone else, it’s yours. Jeremiah 29:13 says

YOU will seek me and find me when you SEEK me with all your heart.

YOU MUST SEARCH FOR GOD

You must want god, not religion or tradition. When you want something go after it. Joshua 24:15 states,

But if serving the Lord seems undesirable to you, then CHOOSE FOR YOURSELVES this day whom you will serve, whether the gods your ancestors served beyond the Euphrates, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you are living. But as for me and my household, we will serve the Lord.”

You now have a choice to enter in to and partake of all that is available in god’s house. John 3:3 says,

Jesus replied, “Very truly I tell you, NO ONE CAN SEE the kingdom of God unless they are born again.

Born again means making the choice to receive GOD’S GIFT of salvation. You were born into the earthly realm: NO CHOICE. You must be born into the heavenly realm: YOUR CHOICE. God gives you the opportunity to choose your eternal destiny: Religion won’t help. Tradition won’t help. Family or anyone else cannot, only god can.

NOW HERE COMES THE GOD NEWS: SOMEONE’S PAYING YOUR DEBT.

Romans 5:But God demonstrates HIS OWN LOVE for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.

John 3:16 For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.

John 14:Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. NO ONE COMES to the Father except through me.

Acts 4:12 Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to mankind by which we must be saved.”

PRAYER

Look God, I’m confused about what is really true. There are too many religions out there; I need your help. I know I’m a sinner, I need your help really badly. I don’t want religion nor Tradition, I want your terms. I repent of my sins. Please forgive me and help me to live for you. I now receive your gift of salvation, Jesus Christ into my heart. Amen

 

Acknowledgement: Bro. John Paul (Evangel Temple)

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