Tag Archives: Christ

Daunting Existence -More than what’s required

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I have a sordid respect for death. I’m not fond of it and I never find myself doing cartwheels when it happens, but I respect death for what it is: an inevitable life event that is expected. I pine over the unexpected loss of young people and when someone very dear to me passes, but I tend to quickly come to terms with the reality of death’s existence during those times. Death, always brings with it thoughts about life – my life in particular – and what is being done with the little time I have on this earth.

This week my family was faced with the daunting reality of losing two persons. My aunt who was 61 died suddenly from a flesh eating bacteria last Saturday and my 19 year-old cousin (not her daughter) was shot and killed by a stray bullet on Monday night. Three days, two deaths and here I am thinking about life and how I wish never to exist.

Existence to me is dwelling in a space where my life revolves around my family, my home, my job, school at times and paying bills. Existing is working continuously while counting down for the weekend and doing only what is necessary to ensure I’m comfortable. Existing is being caught in a monotonous cycle of doing the same things on different days without realising that my life has no real impact on issues and people outside of my immediate circle. To me, existing means never stepping outside of my comfort zone or becoming involved in projects that would benefit others more than it benefits me. To exist is to live a selfish life only considering one’s own realities and never embracing the possibility of being more than what is required.

That’s not what I want for my life. I wish never to be caught in a daunting cycle of existence, instead my life should be lived. I should travel and gain many experiences away from home. I should do volunteer work and be motivated by factors other than wealth. I should give freely of the knowledge I have and seek to help people become better than I am and achieve more than I have. My life should involve encouraging others and loving people genuinely no matter the cost. My life should be lived!

Every time I think about Christ and the way He lived I marvel at the example He set by moving beyond existing and embracing a life well lived despite the consequences. I love how Jesus developed relationships and cared deeply for people even though he knew His time on earth was limited. I love how He gave all that He had to people whom he knew would turn against Him. It’s fascinating when Lazarus died he was able to connect to those who mourned and cry with them (John 11:1-16and when an adulterous woman was brought before Him how rather than condemning her, he defended her although he knew it would make her accusers angry (John 8:1-11). Or when the little children came to see Him and his disciples were about to turn them away how He made time for them (Matthew 19:13-15) and my favourite of all, how he gave people more than they expected when He was in their presence, as in the case of Zacchaeus (Luke 19:1-10).

It’s not enough to simply exist and do only what is necessary for our existence. We should live and be impactful. Our lives should represent more than a mundane list of necessities where we never give more of our selves than required. We should use some of our free time to mentor and encourage younger people or to sit with the elderly. We should volunteer for community projects and give of our resources to those less fortunate. We should speak up for the oppressed and take time out to enjoy life’s simple pleasures. When we die we should have had a positive impact on the world surrounding us. We all have the potential to do more than what is required, we can each be selfless with our time, and love, and most importantly, our God. Christ’s example was to do more than necessary to positively affect those who came into contact with Him; we should follow His lead. I respect death and when it is time for me to face it I pray that I would not have simply existed but I would have lived and made a positive impact on the world around me.

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Living a Purpose Driven Life in the Temptation Era

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What do you think would be the consequences if an airline pilot midway to a destination decides to change the course; without permission from his superiors, because of an interest he has at another (off route) location? Allow me to put that illustration into perspective.

You’re on a flight heading to an important meeting on behalf of your company. This meeting could mean make or break for the company’s future and so it’s imperative that everything goes well. The meeting was called on very short notice so, unfortunately as soon as you land you’re going to have to take a taxi and go straight there; you won’t even have time to check into your hotel first. Now imagine that you’re on the flight with the “flighty” pilot, who steers the aircraft away from it’s intended destination because of a new found interest of his that isn’t on the way to where he’s going. Can you imagine the horror? All that you and your colleagues would have worked on would be destroyed, simply because the pilot could not resist the temptation that pulled him away from his purpose.

A lot of times this is what happens in the life of believers. We who have been ordained by God to fulfill a purpose in the kingdom are sometimes tempted to steer off course and instead of practicing self control; understanding the importance of our purpose, we give in to temptation not recognizing that there might be great consequences afterwards.

Temptation to step off course is not unique to us. Christ too faced such temptation while he walked the earth. In Matthew 17:21-23 we see a great example of this. In this passage Christ had begun to tell the disciples that he would have to suffer many things at the hands of the elders and chief priests and scribes and that he would be killed and be raised from the dead after three days. It was in that moment that temptation came through Peter.

The devil used Peter to present a new perspective on the situation. Peter, whom I imagine must have been very emotional at the time started to rebuke Christ, telling Him that he should not have to suffer these things because of who he was. I don’t know about you but that seems like a pretty good argument. I can just see Peter in my mind’s eye telling Christ how great He was and reminding Him of how many great things He accomplished and how much more he can do on earth. Peter must have been so persuasive in His attempt to stop Christ from facing the cross.

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Thankfully Christ knew His purpose and was driven by it! Jesus’ response has  in it the secret  to surviving in the temptation era (V.23).

 

1. First thing first, Christ knew His purpose. One of the main ways to resist temptation and remained focused on your purpose is to know what you have been called to do. You might be wondering “how do I know if I’m called to do anything?” or “how do I know what my purpose is?”. First thing first we all have a purpose as ambassadors of Christ to represent him and preach the gospel (2 Corinthians 5:20). Secondly we can pray and ask God to reveal to us what is His purpose for our lives as it relates to the kingdom of heaven and he will reveal it to us.

2. Secondly, don’t be afraid to call the devil’s tricks for what it is. Jesus recognized that the devil was using Peter (who was close to him) to present the distraction. Because he knew it wasn’t really Peter but Satan working through Peter he spoke to the devil directly. Sometimes the enemy uses things and people close to us as a means of pulling us away from our purpose. However once we know our purpose we will be able to discern the tricks of the devil and like Christ rebuke him and send him on his way.

3.Thirdly, we need to know the difference between the things of God and the things of men. Everything that is of God can be found in the word of God. If there is something presenting itself to you that is not in alignment with God’s word or with your calling then you know that it is not of God for you to indulge in that thing. Anything, regardless of how good or pleasant it seems, regardless of how great the intention might be, once it pulls you away from the things of God and your purpose in Christ it is a trick of the enemy. In praying it is important for every believer to ask God for the spirit of discernment. We need to depend on God to help us to discern clearly the things that are of him and the things that are not.

The world we live in today presents many, many delightful things that may cause us to drift away from what God has ordained for our lives. However the word of God along with God’s mercy and grace can keep us on the path of righteousness. Let us not be like to fictional pilot above, who carelessly steers off course without realizing that the course ahead is much more important and rewarding than the distraction on the side. All of our purposes can be attained if we keep our eyes fixed on the things above and trust God to keep us till that time when His will is accomplished in our lives.

 

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Real Talk – Commitment Brings Control

Give it to God

II Timothy 1:12 For this reason I also suffer these things; nevertheless I am not ashamed, for I know whom I have believed and am persuaded that He is able to keep what I have committed to Him until that Day. NKJV

As I sit and reflect on the month gone, God’s spirit takes me back to the beginning of this month when Pastor Ali spoke to the church on the importance of letting God be in control. In His sermon Pastor asked the church if God is in control regardless of how we live. Of course the answer to that question was NO! You see because God has given us free will, His intervention on matters in our lives is determined by our willingness for Him to intervene. Therefore if our lives do not reflect or communicate as much to God then He cannot keep those things which we have held on to and refuse to put in His care.

As the month progressed it was revealed that we can interpret the above scripture two ways. Firstly God cannot control what we don’t commit to Him. There are so many battles the church face because we do not commit situations, tribulations, cares, worries and other such things into God’s care. We say that we love God and we trust His will, but we continue to try and live this life based on our own strength and understanding.

Secondly we see that whatever we commit to God He is able to keep. God’s word is true and He is faithful to what word, therefore we can rely on Him to stand true to it.  I have always been career motivated and so in the past I would constantly be battling with ways to advance my career in a particular direction. Earlier last year, when I began my relationship with Christ, I committed my job to God’s care and the rewards and peace of that commitment is simply amazing (you can ask me for details).

I know what you’re probably saying, “Keela you don’t understand. You don’t know how hard it is to let go of the things I’m dealing with. You have no idea what my battle entails”.  You’re probably right, I might not understand your particular situation but I do understand this; God’s word is true and if the bible says He is able to keep what we commit to Him then He really is able to do it. It’s up to us to trust His word and His love and give everything over to Him so He can have His way with it.

God doesn’t ask us to do anything without telling us how to do it. So, here’s how to start. Matthew 6:33 But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.  If we are to find strength to commit things in our lives to God we first have to take our eyes off of those things and look toward Him. In so doing we will learn to trust His desire for our lives and we will begin to understand His true capabilities in keeping everything we commit to Him. So don’t take my word for it, try the remedy in Matthew 6:33 and begin to see what great things God will do with those things you commit to Him.

I hope you all have a blessed month.

Keela!

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Daily Dose – Unchanging

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Psalm 19:89 Your word, Lord, is eternal; it stands firm in the heavens

The word of God never changes. The Father’s command do not alter, and neither does Jesus, the Word made flesh or His promise of salvation.

Those who trust in him are secure as the Lord Himself, for he does not change and none of His promises pass away unfulfilled.

The eternal Lord and all He commands stand firm.

To gain eternity, simply receive Christ as your Lord and Savior; then trust him.

*Everyday Encouragement – Pamela L. Mcquade

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Daily Dose – God of Comfort

2 Corinthians 1:4 [God] who comforts us in all our tribulation, that we may be able to comfort those who are in any trouble, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.

When you hurt God offers you comfort.

No trouble is so large or so small that He would not help. But when you have received his strength for the trouble at hand, do you share it in turn?

Comfort isn’t meant to be hidden away, but passed on to those in a similar need. As part of the body of Christ, we; the Church, should be sharing the knowledge that God cares for and strengthens all His children.

*Everyday Encouragement – Pamela L. Mcquade

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Daily Dose – Living For Christ

Romans 8:13 For if you live according to the flesh you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.

Living for Christ through his spirit offers real life, overflowing and abundant. Blessings spill over in obedient lives, but the world, at war with God, doesn’t understand.

Unbelievers never feel the touch of the Spirit in their hearts and lives, Jesus’ gentle love is foreign to them.

Put to death worldly misdeeds, and instead of the emptiness of the world, you’ll receive blessings indeed.

*Everyday Encouragement – Pamela L. Mcquade

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True Followers

John 1:14 And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

Many of us struggle with living each day as authentic followers of Christ. We don’t understand why we seem to do okay for a week after hearing an inspirational message, but then fall back into old patterns of behavior before we know it. We keep trying to fix our behavior, promising wholeheartedly that we won’t shout at the kids again, be rude to our spouses, react in traffic, lie, cheat, steal, gossip, or gamble.

But invariably, we find ourselves unable to sustain our resolve—and we fail to control our actions (again!). That’s what happens when we try to live our Christian lives from the outside in instead of from the inside out. The tension between our inner worlds and outer worlds cannot be sustained long-term and will inevitably have a detrimental effect on our lives.

All too often we compartmentalize our lives and divide them into segments. We become actors, taking on the role of who we think we’re supposed to be––depending on our audience or our circumstances. For example, at church, we’re supposed to be a Christian, so we act like one (some of us could win an Oscar for our performances). Around our Christian friends we’re supposed to be a Christian, so we act like one. At work, we try to act like a Christian because we’re supposed to be one, but there we don’t have to play the role too well because our coworkers are not quite as familiar with the Christian “script.” When we go home, we act like our real selves, because we believe that our secret is safe with our family. Then the doorbell rings. It’s amazing how quickly we can shift and play the part of the perfect family even if moments before our houses were more like the perfect storm.

This is not how God wants us to live.

He doesn’t want us to simply act like Christians. He wants us to authentically be Christians. But the only way for this to occur is by allowing him to work on us from the inside out. God is not satisfied with merely having visitation rights every Sunday or Wednesday at a church service or two. God wants always to be at the core of who we are and what we’re becoming.

Point to Ponder

Are you ready to live an authentic Christian life? If you are, forget about putting on a show for others, doing all the right things on the outside. Give God permission to begin his work inside you. And don’t worry; he won’t be surprised by anything he finds in there.

*Devotions by Christine Caine

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The Holy Spirit Guarantees Future Promises

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Ephesians 1: 13 In Him you also trusted, after you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation; in whom also, having believed, you were sealed with the Holy Spirit of promise, 14 who is the guarantee of our inheritance until the redemption of the purchased possession, to the praise of His glory.

Who are the “you also” to whom Paul referred? This meant all non-Jews who had become believers. Christ came to die for everyone—not just Jews, but Gentiles too. God had promised that through one of Abraham’s descendants, “all peoples on earth will be blessed” (Genesis 12:3). Jesus fulfilled that promise when he opened the way of salvation to everyone. When we believe the Good News, God saves us. In that moment God gives us his Holy Spirit, who is like a security deposit. The fact that we have the Holy Spirit means that all the rest of God’s promises will come true.

God’s promises about eternity are as certain as our salvation. There is no need to doubt what God says. While we may not understand everything in our lives or even agree on how the future will play out, we can agree that Jesus is coming back to take us to heaven to be with him forever.

We can have confidence in God’s promises for the future. The Holy Spirit testifies daily to the fact that all of God’s promises will come true “to the praise of his glory.”

God’s Promise to Me

  • I gave you my Spirit as a guarantee that I will give you everything else I promised.
  • You can be confident in all of my promises for the future.

My Prayer to God

God, thank you for giving me your Holy Spirit and for identifying me as your child. Thank you for the glorious future you have in store for me.

*Excerpt taken from Biblegateway’s Once-A-Day Bible Promise Devotionals.

 

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Add Life To Your Years – Gwen Smith

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John 10:10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy; I have come that they may have life, and have it to the full.

This testimony by Gwen Smith is a reminder that we should all live our lives with meaning so when the time arrives for us to meet our father in heaven he would be pleased with us. I hope it blesses your heart.

GWEN’S TESTIMONY

One difficult morning six years ago, I wanted to hurl my screaming alarm clock into an abyss. The warmth of my covers and the safety of sleep beckoned my heart to stay, linger and forget what lay ahead of me that day. On that afternoon, I would sing for the funeral of a precious 18 year-old family friend who had died in a tragic car accident.

Her name was Macie. She was a girl who lived life to enjoy life. She babysat my kids and would often catch a ride home from church with us. She always had a spring in her step, a hug for a child, a kind word on her lips, and a sweet smile on her face. To know Macie was to love Macie. So, as you can imagine, my heart ached intensely when she died.

The sorrow messed with me.

It was heavy. Everything about her death seemed wrong. She was so young. So vibrant. So loved. I longed to turn back the hands of time and alter the course of Macie’s demise. I wanted her to magically appear at the service and tell us that it was all just a big misunderstanding. That she was fine! I wanted her to be fine. I wanted her to be alive.

My angst eventually gave way to peace as I remembered that she was fine – because she was alive in the perfect presence of God. The late Barbara Johnson said, “You never know when your time is going to expire, so remember: as you add years to your life, it is more important to add life to your years.” Macie only lived on this earth for 18 short years, but she added life to her years when she surrendered her heart to Jesus Christ a year before her death. I imagine that she is now skipping along streets of gold, worshiping God whole-heartedly, and loving on the two babies of mine that are in heaven. She always loved taking care of babies.

The Spirit of God and the knowledge of Macie’s salvation consoled me, yet I still had to choose to praise God through my grief. In the sadness, I had to choose to bless the Lord for His perfect plan. Even though His plan didn’t line up with my expectations. Even though those plans left many hearts heavy with ache. God’s grace enabled me to see rays of light in the dark loss because Macie had professed her faith in Christ and was prepared to meet Him when she breathed her final breath.

Adding life to your years is all about Jesus. In John 10:10, Jesus said, “I have come that they might have life, and have it to the full.” We can all know hope and peace in Christ. “In Him was life, and that life was the light of men.” (John 1:4) Jesus came to give us life, plain and simple. Radical, audacious, full, abundant, joy-filled life that begins with the forgiveness that He offers us freely. Do you know that forgiveness?

Live today in the fullness of Jesus… in response to His grace and goodness. Colossians 2:6-7 says, “So then, just as you received Christ Jesus as Lord, continue to live in Him, rooted and built up in Him, strengthened in the faith as you were taught, and overflowing with thankfulness.”  Let’s determine to live each day filled with purposed thankfulness as we worship God and point others to Him in love.

It was a sad day when I said goodbye to Macie. After leaving the graveside, I went home, hugged on my children and loved on my husband a bit more than normal. Her death reminded me just how important it is to add life to my years. It’s important for you too.

Live in the moment. God has a plan for your now.

*Read more from Gwen Here

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

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