Tag Archives: Decisions

My First E-Book Now Available On Amazon

8 Oct

Book CoverGrief, pain, hardship and tragedy happen to all of us equally. God gives us all the same opportunity to come to Him through Jesus, His Son. There is a misconception that Christians should be free from pain and suffering. They should have it better than everybody else, and that if they are having problems there must be some deep dark sin in their lives.

God is often judged by the circumstances that affect the lives of His followers. If something bad happens to them, it might appear that God failed or that He is punishing them or teaching them a lesson. The misconception is that Christians are loved by God more and therefore He treats them better and gives them more.

God is frequently viewed as a mere option in our world today. Even some Christians view God’s participation in their lives to be necessary only if they are unable to handle something on their own – especially a crisis.

This series of books will visit many of the hard questions asked about God and what it means to be a Christian. Step by Step guidance will help the reader understand how to become a Christian, how to live daily walking and talking with God, and how to understand His will for your life.

Walking with God is a deliberate action taken by those who want to be born again into life everlasting with Him – it requires only believing in Jesus Christ, asking for His forgiveness of our sins, and learning how to live and walk daily with Him in your heart and at your side.

God is very real. He isn’t a figment of our imagination. He isn’t spooky or strange. He is loving and kind. He is good and loves each and every one of us more than we can even understand.

God doesn’t just love Christians. He loves every single person in the world. He doesn’t favor Christians. Christians aren’t better than everyone else. Knowing and following Jesus Christ doesn’t mean a life with no sorrows or pain.
The difference is in our hearts. Walking daily with God and talking to Him at any time you want to is better than having your best earthly friend by your side all the time,and even better than any other person you believe to have everything you want and/or need.

God is the peace you need, and the protection you need, He has the provision you need, and the guidance you need. He can and will direct every step you take, if you let Him. It’s not always easy. That’s where faith and trust come in.

God is the one thing in this life that has never changed and will never change. But, it doesn’t mean He is old fashioned or out of date. There is nothing on this planet that wasn’t already arranged by Him long, long before time, as we know it, began.

The first book in this series is part of my testimony. It starts about the time I graduated from high school. I was raised in a Christian home, went to church because my mother made me, and all I knew of God was that I was supposed to love Him and be good.

As it is said, “Life Happens”. I went to church from the time I was a little girl and accepted Jesus at a Baptist Camp at the age of nine years old, I didn’t really come to know Him until life started invading my space. Those were the times I began to “consider” God – wondering if He was really there and wondering what He wanted from me.

I am now 68 years old. I can tell you it has taken a long life of mistakes, pain, hardship, suffering and grief – just like everyone else I know – Christian or not. The only thing I would change if I had a “do over” would be that I would have worked harder at getting serious about my relationship with God and I would not have worked so hard at doing things my way. I would have spent the necessary time getting to know my maker and letting Him guide me rather than having Him constantly have to bail me out of my troubles and set me back on my feet.That’s life. After this one there’s one in eternity. Where will you spend yours?

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TRANSITION (Part 2) – Is God Happy With You?

14 Sep

We’ve been talking about change – It appears to me that many of us are heading for change in our lives. One way we can tell is that our Spirit within begins to get a little uncomfortable. We’re not sure why and we begin to question ourselves about certain issues in our lives. I have always likened it to climbing a ladder – the feeling you have when you are in between steps – you’re not fully on the bottom step nor are you fully on the next step – you’re pushing with one side and pulling with the other. It’s like you are still where you are, but shifting to another level – you’re not firmly on either step.

Many of us don’t like change – some fight against it with everything they have, and dig their heels in refusing to budge. Others look forward to it with anticipation and eagerness because they have learned to trust God, and have let Him lead them. They are confident because He has never failed them, and He knows what’s best.Blog Pix

As I mentioned in Part 1 of this subject, Pastor Brett Jones, a senior pastor at Grace Church, Humble, Texas, spoke with us about growing to our full capacity – maximizing our opportunities. God gave each of us talents and abilities that He gave to no one else. That is so exciting to me! It doesn’t mean any of us are any better than the other. It just means our God is a personal God and He isn’t making “cookie cutter” disciples out of us. He cares enough about each and every one of us to give us something special from Himself so that we will be equipped to do the work He planned for us while we were yet in our mothers’ wombs.

When we tell God we can’t do something, He will send someone else. I don’t know about you, but I would not like it at all if God had to send someone else to do what He originally intended for me to do.

IS GOD HAPPY WITH YOU?

Listening to the message Pastor Jones was giving us I had one of those “Seriously?” moments – an eye opener, if you will. Pastor said, “Just because God provides for us doesn’t mean He’s happy with what we are doing”. That was a “Selah” (Pause, and calmly think of that) moment for me. God has provided for me in so many ways – ways that seem like miracles to me many times. The thought that while doing so He may not be happy with what I was doing astonished me! Then, Pastor said, “Provision does not mean favor”. – Another startling revelation to me. He explained that God blesses us and continues to give us favor because of His amazing love for us – not because of what we do or not do.

I always feel blessed by God. He is good to me all the time – (in case anyone is wondering, I DO make mistakes, and have problems just like everyone does). I just thought that since I do see God’s favor all the time and I am so blessed by Him, He must surely be pleased with me. I want Him to be pleased with me. Now – what if He isn’t?

10604440_270154343182016_9023185512106127701_oThis is kind of what I mean about that awkwardness we feel when it’s transition time! We find ourselves in a place of feeling safe – comfortable – things are fine just like they are (in our way of thinking). Then, we learn we can never get too comfortable. God won’t allow us to just sit comfortably by while life moves  on by. If we’ve finished here on this earth we might as well go on to heaven, don’t you think?

Sometimes I remind the Lord that I am 68 years old, in case He has forgotten (but he hasn’t – remember, according to Psalms 139 God formed me in my mother’s womb and he planned every day of my life before I was born. So, that’s how I know He knows how old I am, and what I am still capable of doing. Sometimes I just have to speak to my old body to keep up.

So, the next jolt for me in the sermon was that we should not just be saved – we should do what God put us here to do! I really never thought of that. I do try to stay in tune with what God requires from me. But what He has in mind and what I have in mind sometimes differ. We have different ideas about who I am and what I can do.

Pastor Jones again, “The goal of God is not just for us to go to heaven – it is to fulfill our assignment.” Did you know we all have assignments? Do you know what yours is?

Think about this – pray about it – meditate on God’s Word, and ask Him to give you the answers.

We’re going to go a little deeper in my next post.

TRANSITION

11 Sep

The DicBlog Pixtionary describes transition as a period of changing from one state to another. Other meanings include:

  • change
  • passage
  • move
  • transformation
  • conversion
  • metamorphosis
  • alteration
  • switch
  • progress
  • development

This was Sunday’s message presented by Pastor Brett Jones,  one of our senior pastors at Grace Church  http://gracechurchlive.com/locations/humble-campus/.  I have been considering some major changes in my life for many months now. Actually, the seed was planted a few years ago, but I had so many doubts and pre-conceived ideas about making any changes. I was fearful that I was too old and just not qualified to do what I dreamed of doing. I lacked the faith to follow through. So, even though I never really gave up on the idea I did do exactly what the following message is going to speak to. God knows just what we need and when we need it!

It’s not always easy to make changes, and some of us don’t like change at all, so we decide to stay right where we are continuing to do just what we do. Pastor Jones referred to a Scripture in Exodus where God’s people were calling out for help – they were suffering – they were being mistreated. God told Moses that He had heard their cries and seen their suffering, and that He had a plan to rescue them. :

  • The people were suffering and cried out to God
  • God heard them and He was concerned for them
  • God had a plan to rescue them
  • God already had an answer waiting, and a place to take them

Pastor Jones explained to us that God had already set the destination – He had already made preparations for them. What had to happen next was that the people had to recognize God was directing them. He sent someone to help them and they struggled with recognizing  the man God sent because he was just an ordinary like you and me. So, they began to question, criticize and complain. (Sound familiar?)

Many times we have mind-sets and pre-conceived ideas about the way our situations should work out. We can get so focused on that one idea that we literally don’t see the forest for the trees. We are unwilling to look at any other options.  So, we prefer to stay in our comfortable little world because at least we are familiar with it, and we let fear convince us that anything different would be too uncomfortable and too much trouble.

The truth is that remaining in the same rut (Charles Stanley calls a rut an open-ended grave), is much harder t10623321_270154349848682_7235250059908727006_ohan stepping out in faith toward what God has already prepared for us. Most of our limitations in life are given to us by us, according to Pastor Jones. We just aren’t willing to adjust our capacity to take a step forward. We focus on our shortcomings, our failures and our limitations instead of what God can do, but God has plans for us that we can’t even imagine!

God doesn’t get in a hurry and we shouldn’t either. I am impatient much of the time, as I imagine many are in today’s world. However; I’ve learned (the hard way) that God doesn’t expect me to be stressed, always hurrying, frustrated because I’m not meeting my own goals, and sometimes just plain weary.

Pastor Jones told us that when God gives us an opportunity He expects us to follow through. God wants us to grow to our maximum capacity, and maximize our opportunities.  One of the most powerful statements he made was that if we don’t have the capacity to do something, we will pull it down to our level.

Pastor Jones explained it this way; he likened it to the Israelites wandering around in the desert for 40 years when they could have made their trip in less than a couple of weeks. Look at what they did:

  • They continually complained about their situation
  • They blamed their leader because he didn’t do more for them
  • They doubted God and Moses and continued to mumble about their situation
  • They saw miracle after miracle but it wasn’t good enough for them, they still doubted God
  • They continually wanted to go back to slavery because it was what they knew
  • They didn’t have the capacity to move forward and enlarge their vision

As a result, all of the Israelites under the age of 20 were not allowed to receive the things God had planned to give them. Even Moses, himself, didn’t get to enter the Promised Land because he became frustrated and angry, and struck a rock demanding water from it instead of waiting on God.

We are all subject to the consequences of disobedience and rebellion. We sometimes believe that the way things are just isn’t  our fault. We limit ourselves so much to our small world that we fail to look up and see that God can, and will, save us if we ask Him and then let Him.

We need to ask God today for help in maximizing every opportunity He gives us, and to help us look beyond our own finite world. (Finite means something has an end or finishing point.) Let’s don’t look around us and determine our lives are dull, stale, a waste – or finished! Let’s look to God, the author and finisher of our faith, and follow as He leads us to our destination – with the full assurance and expectation of achieving all He has for us.

Pre-Conceived Ideas

6 Aug

Father, You alone never fail me. You alone never change. You alone love me no matter how I act or behave, or fail. I never have to fear your rejection or separation from you. I never have to wonder if you have forgiven me when I mess up. Your love is the only perfect love.

  • John 5:1  God is love. Whoever lives in love lives in God, and God in him. 17 In this way, love is made complete among us so that we will have confidence on the day of judgment, because in this world we are like him. 18 There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 19 We love because he first loved us. 20 If anyone says, “I love God,” yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. 21 And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother. NIV

This morning, as I went to prayer I was thinking about some of life’s disappointments and failures. As I meditated on it God began to lead me into the words of adoration above. There is complete rest in the knowledge that God is always on our side. He fights for us and no one can stand against us. The outcome may not always be what we think we want and it may not make us feel good. God is not in the business of making us feel good. He wants us to be complete in Him and He is continually working within us to cleanse and purify us.

Sometimes we don’t even know what is deep within our hearts until it begins to come out. Don’t stop that process. God wants us to let it out. He wants us to be aware of what is within us, otherwise we’ll stay the same. God doesn’t want us to  stay the same.

Charles Stanley says that a rut is an open-ended grave. God doesn’t want us in a rut. There are times when everything around us seems to be falling apart. I call those times “transition times”. I explain it as climbing a ladder and the feel of leaving the lower step to go to the next step. It’s that “in between” step when you know something is changing and you’re not sure just what it is. You’re also not sure you want to go there. God doesn’t want us to stay where we are. It has taken me a lifetime to figure that one out.

Every time I get comfortable God puts the ladder in front of me and says, “Climb”. I sometimes sit and stare at the ladder, knowing it’s going to lead me to another rung and I like the rung I’m on. However; the ladder doesn’t go away it stays IN the way until I start to climb again.

I can assure you that God’s plan for each one of us is so much better than we can imagine or think. If we could just trust Him, blindly, and keep climbing – what a wonder we would see in our lives. It’s never bad. It’s always better. Things might get a little out of whack around us, but Psalms 91: says:

  • He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. 2 I will say of the LORD, “He is my refuge and my fortress,my God, in whom I trust.”
    3 Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare and from the deadly pestilence. 4 He will cover you with his feathers,and under his wings you will find refuge;his faithfulness will be your shield and rampart. 5 You will not fear the terror of night,nor the arrow that flies by day, 6 nor the pestilence that stalks in the darkness,nor the plague that destroys at midday. 7 A thousand may fall at your side,ten thousand at your right hand,but it will not come near you. 8 You will only observe with your eyes and see the punishment of the wicked.
    9 If you make the Most High your dwelling — even the LORD, who is my refuge — 10 then no harm will befall you,no disaster will come near your tent. 11 For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways; 12 they will lift you up in their hands,so that you will not strike your foot against a stone. 13 You will tread upon the lion and the cobra;you will trample the great lion and the serpent.
    14 “Because he loves me,” says the LORD, “I will rescue him;I will protect him, for he acknowledges my name. 15 He will call upon me, and I will answer him;I will be with him in trouble,I will deliver him and honor him. 16 With long life will I satisfy him and show him my salvation.” NIV

Look at verse 7 – it says that a thousand may fall at your side . . .  that means to me that things might get a little crazy around us but we are still in His hand and if we’ll just stay there He will protect us.

I wish I had the words to tell each one reading this how much God loves you and how good He is. All of our failures and disappointments can’t even come close to His love and His goodness – His provision and His protection.

I encourage you to keep walking – put one foot in front of the other. Don’t let fear and panic get you to turn to your own methods. Trust Him. God honors our faith. As long as we do our best (not being perfect) God will direct our path and take us through the storm. It usually isn’t immediate. But, the storm will pass and you will be in a better place.

Give Him a chance. Let Him show you His love and His power. Put aside your fears, your pre-conceived ideas and you won’t be disappointed. God is bigger than mankind. We can’t even come close to understanding His ways or just what He’ll do to deliver us.

Taking matters into our own hands is like jumping off a building and then screaming to God on the way down, “Bless this stupid thing I’m doing, God”. Then we wonder what could have possibly gone wrong.

God Alone can make things right. Try it His way – just try it. He won’t fail you.

Do You Like The Path You’re On?

16 Jul

“You would like your path more if you knew what God is saving you from and/or what He is preparing you for.” I definitely connected with this statement from Pastor’s sermon this past Sunday  It brought to my mind many things that I have experienced in life but didn’t understand at the time. However; walking with God is a walk of faith – there are many things we won’t understand.

My mind tells my heart that if I understood “why” – then I could cope a little better. But, my heart knows better. My heart knows that I serve a God who loves me so much and wants nothing but the best for me. He has proven Himself to me many times – over and over again.

Life can be hard. It has taken me a very long time to realize that the choices I make definitely take me off God’s path at times.  Making some of life’s major decisions without seeking God first cost me years of uncomfortable consequences. Had I sought God and then obeyed His direction, I could have avoided many of the hardships I have faced in my life.

I look back at the hopes and dreams I had, and how I imagined how wonderful my life would be. I regret that I did not have a better understanding of the weight each of my decisions would have on my life – the present and the future. If I could have a “do-over” I wouldn’t do it. But, knowing now what it has taken me a life-time to learn, I would definitely be much more careful and deliberate about how I made my way down life’s paths.

I can see now that some of the things that caused me pain and heartache were my own fault. At the time they were happening, it didn’t seem so. I hate to admit it, but a great deal of my choices in life were decisions I made myself – not wanting advice from anyone or without seeking God first.

I did “pray” on the run – I muttered a quick prayer and told God what I wanted – after I had already jumped into whatever it was I was about to do. I thought my plan for my life was  whatever I wanted it to be. I never realized how self-absorbed I was. I didn’t mean to be. I didn’t realize God had a plan for my life and had I just allowed Him to, He would have directed me into the right path.

That all being said, even when we are on God’s path there can be difficulties. God’s path is not a straight road to a problem free environment. He cares more about our relationship with Him and our spiritual growth than our comfort. Though that may not be music to our ears, God’s ways and His plan for our lives bring great rewards in ways that can’t be imagined or described.

The incredible miracle of it all is that He is with us all along. He watches over us, and is always patient with us. He uses some of the consequences of our obstinate choices to teach us that He loves us and He can still turn our situation into something good.

I am thankful, beyond words, to now have a personal relationship with the God of the universe – the God of Abraham – the way HE intended. Though my path is not always easy mentally, and/or physically – I finally have the peace that I am on His path and that if I stay on it, He will keep me at peace and He will walk with me through every valley – AND – I will overcome any obstacle as long as I put my faith and trust in Him and not try to do it by myself.

God has a plan for each one of us. Don’t waste your time trying to do anything without Him. His Word promises that he will direct our paths, but first we have to talk to Him to find out what that path is. Ps. 199:105 – “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” NIV

Keep in mind that a lamp provides just enough light on a path to see only what is right in front of us. We don’t have to know what lies ahead. We need to be content to know that when God leads us we can trust Him no matter where that path goes. As long as we let Him lead we can’t go wrong, and even when we don’t understand what is happening we can trust that as long as we are following Him the outcome with be to our benefit.

The key to it all is that His WORD (the Bible) is the lamp – without it we can’t see where we’re going!

Do You Like The Path You’re On?

16 Jul

“You would like your path more if you knew what God is saving you from and/or what He is preparing you for.” I definitely connected with this statement from Pastor’s sermon this past Sunday  It brought to my mind many things that I have experienced in life but didn’t understand at the time. However; walking with God is a walk of faith – there are many things we won’t understand.

My mind tells my heart that if I understood “why” – then I could cope a little better. But, my heart knows better. My heart knows that I serve a God who loves me so much and wants nothing but the best for me. He has proven Himself to me many times – over and over again.

Life can be hard. It has taken me a very long time to realize that the choices I make definitely take me off God’s path at times.  Making some of life’s major decisions without seeking God first cost me years of uncomfortable consequences. Had I sought God and then obeyed His direction, I could have avoided many of the hardships I have faced in my life.

I look back at the hopes and dreams I had, and how I imagined how wonderful my life would be. I regret that I did not have a better understanding of the weight each of my decisions would have on my life – the present and the future. If I could have a “do-over” I wouldn’t do it. But, knowing now what it has taken me a life-time to learn, I would definitely be much more careful and deliberate about how I made my way down life’s paths.

I can see now that some of the things that caused me pain and heartache were my own fault. At the time they were happening, it didn’t seem so. I hate to admit it, but a great deal of my choices in life were decisions I made myself – not wanting advice from anyone or without seeking God first.

I did “pray” on the run – I muttered a quick prayer and told God what I wanted – after I had already jumped into whatever it was I was about to do. I thought my plan for my life was  whatever I wanted it to be. I never realized how self-absorbed I was. I didn’t mean to be. I didn’t realize God had a plan for my life and had I just allowed Him to, He would have directed me into the right path.

That all being said, even when we are on God’s path there can be difficulties. God’s path is not a straight road to a problem free environment. He cares more about our relationship with Him and our spiritual growth than our comfort. Though that may not be music to our ears, God’s ways and His plan for our lives bring great rewards in ways that can’t be imagined or described.

The incredible miracle of it all is that He is with us all along. He watches over us, and is always patient with us. He uses some of the consequences of our obstinate choices to teach us that He loves us and He can still turn our situation into something good.

I am thankful, beyond words, to now have a personal relationship with the God of the universe – the God of Abraham – the way HE intended. Though my path is not always easy mentally, and/or physically – I finally have the peace that I am on His path and that if I stay on it, He will keep me at peace and He will walk with me through every valley – AND – I will overcome any obstacle as long as I put my faith and trust in Him and not try to do it by myself.

God has a plan for each one of us. Don’t waste your time trying to do anything without Him. His Word promises that he will direct our paths, but first we have to talk to Him to find out what that path is. Ps. 199:105 – “Your Word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path.” NIV

Keep in mind that a lamp provides just enough light on a path to see only what is right in front of us. We don’t have to know what lies ahead. We need to be content to know that when God leads us we can trust Him no matter where that path goes. As long as we let Him lead we can’t go wrong, and even when we don’t understand what is happening we can trust that as long as we are following Him the outcome with be to our benefit.

The key to it all is that His WORD (the Bible) is the lamp – without it we can’t see where we’re going!

Do You Live in Bondage or Walk in Freedom?

31 Oct

WHAT DO I PAY FOR FREEDOM?

We all want to be free. What does that mean to you? If you love the God of Abraham, freedom comes by walking in obedience to Him. To be able to do that you must first know Him.  You must be born again by inviting Jesus Christ into your heart. To know Him you must spend time reading His inspired Word written down for us in the Holy Bible. This is where true freedom is.

God wants only the best for us. Satan tries every way he can to deceive us; his mission is to steal, kill and destroy. Some have unknowingly tried to make the God of Abraham like pagan gods by worshiping an “image” of whatever they have made Him out to be.  Instead He is our Father in Heaven who wants to know us personally and develop a relationship with us – a personal relationship.

Serving God is not following a set of rules, nor is it just attending services to fulfill an obligation. Serving God is an honor and a privilege. He loves you and me with a love we can’t understand. We have to use our faith to receive it. The more time we spend getting to know Him, the more we are drawn into His presence and the more our spiritual eyes and ears are opened to His ways and His truth.

WHAT IS FREEDOM?

Freedom means different things to different people. God has a plan, a pattern for our lives – a road map, if you will. He didn’t just toss us in this world and tell us to sink or swim. If you belong to Him, He is with you always and will never, ever leave you. He will walk with you through whatever comes your way. He doesn’t always remove the pitfalls but He does pick us up and dust us off when we fall down. He sets us back on our feet and stays with us, continuing to guide us.

If you are a believer in the God of Abraham and you want to live a life dedicated to Him, you are expected to walk in obedience to Him at all times. You can’t know His will for your life if you don’t know Him. We make it so hard on ourselves. The Bible tells us that His yoke is easy and His burden is light. That doesn’t mean we won’t have problems. If becoming a Christian meant being free from all problems . . . well, it just doesn’t.

CHOICES, CHOICES, CHOICES

We face a world full of choices and decisions every day. Some are easy – most are not. Let’s discuss the ones that have us really bound tightly. We have a problem and we take it to God in prayer. We tell Him the problem and then tell Him what solution we need.   ????   Hummmm, it really doesn’t work that way. We can certainly tell God what we want and how we would like the answer to come.  Then comes the hard part. If our minds are set on only receiving our answer the way we want it we may be in for many disappointments. Preconceived ideas generally set us up for disappointment. The Bible tells us that God’s ways are higher than our ways and that we cannot fathom the depths of His understanding. In other words, He has plans for us that we can’t even understand, let alone ask for.  We ask Him for something based on our limited knowledge of how things should be worked out.

GOD IS FULL OF SURPRISES!

The most exciting thing about God is He is full of surprises. His answers will always be the right ones. He knows us better than we know ourselves. Also understand that when God answers prayer it isn’t always a “yes”.  It can be “wait” or . . . “NO”! Oops – not what we wanted to hear.

THIS IS WHERE THE FREEDOM COMES IN . . .

If you limit God to what you know and what you can see you are possibly setting yourself up for a great fall. You are also in danger of becoming “bound” – Encarta Dictionary defines bound as “. . . obliged to do something or behave in a particular way”.  Two definitions from the Thesaurus for “bound” are “obligated” and “constrained”.  That is opposite from “freedom”.

It’s a matter of the Spirit being in control – yielding our Spirit to God for His guidance. He loves us like we love our children. He wants the best for us and has the ability to make it happen. He also has the ability to “see around the corner” – He knows what is coming, we don’t. His answers sometimes aren’t what we want to hear. Yielding to God is not always easy. It means yielding (submitting) to Him. Many times it means we don’t get our way. This is where trust comes in. If you will notice, when you let God have His way you are putting your trust and “faith” in Him. Remember, faith is the “substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.”  Scripture also tells us that without faith we cannot please God.

NOW FOR THE HARD PART

When God answers with “No” or “Wait” or leads you in another way, your emotions (soul) kicks in and you want to dig your heels in – have it your way. You can. But when you do, you have lost your freedom. Say what? You heard me correctly. When you pick and choose which of God’s directions you will follow, you are not actually being obedient.

Let’s say you pray that God remove you from a situation and you tell Him how you want it done. He answers by sending just what you need to be removed from the situation, but it’s different from the terms you told Him you wanted. So, instead of following God’s plan and being removed from the situation, you hold out for doing it your way. In the meantime tension builds, stress becomes harder to deal with and everything turns out to be a mess. Then, the “way out” God offered you may not still be available or even if it is, you have delayed your freedom by trying your own way first. If you had done it His way immediately, you could have avoided many of the problems and most of the stress.

That is sort of a simple way of saying it, but I think the message is clear. We have freedom of choice – God gave us a free will. But, we have the honor and the privilege of having His Holy Spirit as our counselor and our guide to give us the perfect solution to our situation. It doesn’t mean we will always immediately like the way God has shown us. But, as we step out in faith we will eventually see that His ways are better than our ways and He has a reason for wanting us to follow the map He gives us.

Recognize Your Motivation

22 Jul

Spiritual Gifts (7)

We are now ready to get more specific with the individual motivational gifts. As you meditate on them you may recognize some of your personal characteristics and those of your friends and family. It may take a while for you to identify your gift right away, so be patient and give yourself plenty of time. When you do recognize your gift, realize that it is your gift for life and that as you grow stronger in the Lord, your gift will also mature.

Train yourself to be sensitive to your reactions to your likes and dislikes and your motivation for doing what you do. For example, if you are asked to help someone move, and you agree to help – examine how it makes you feel. Are you agreeing because you feel obligated or because you really enjoy helping people? If you really want to help someone because you enjoy helping others, chances are that your gift may be “Service”. If you do it mainly because you are obligated or for any other reason, you can probably mark “Service” off your “Gift” list.  Keep in mind that we are not excused from “Service” just because we don’t have that particular motivation!

Motivational Gift of PROPHECY – Characteristics

  • Strong desire to understand the Bible and God’s Word to His people
  • Strong discernment
  • Able to forsee the consequences of decisions made
  • Strong desire to help others to correct their bad decisions – (not their feelings and not their attitude)
  • Not interested in whether or not they are accepted by others, just that others know the truth and don’t make choices that will bring them more problems

Ways the Gift of PROPHECY can be used:

  • Teaching
  • Moral Concerns
  • Church Council
  • Counseling
  • Personnel Committee
  • Church Officer
  • Group Committee Leader
  • Worship Committee
  • Prayer Groups

Motivational Gift of TEACHING – Characteristics:

  • Strong desire to clarify truth
  • Desire to search out and study God’s Word in detail so they can validate the truth
  • Carefully investigates the Word of God
  • Very interested in words and the way they are used
  • God-given interest in getting details correct

Ways  the the gift of  TEACHING can be used:

  • Bible Teaching
  • New Member Training
  • Mission Education
  • Vacation Bible School
  • Sunday School
  • Church Training
  • Church Council

Motivational Gift of ADMINISTRATION – Characteristics:

  • The ability to see the overall picture
  • Can clarify long-range goals
  • Can see and understand what needs to be done
  • Knows who can do the job the best
  • Likes to appoint the individuals to do them

Ways the Gift of ADMINISTRATION can be used:

  • Records and Statistical Data
  • Church Finance
  • Financial & Budgeting Resources
  • Office Administration
  • Insurance Committee
  • Priority Planning
  • Church Council

Motivational Gift of SERVICE – Characteristics:

  • Can become grieved when they see the person they are serving squandering their time and wasting it on minute things
  • Greatly delighted in giving of themselves to serve when they see the other person is investing their life in worthwhile projects
  • They are willing to invest service in your life in order to help you get what you want out of life, then you, in turn, are going to be motivated to do more
  • Has the gift of giving of themselves in order to help someone else to succeed in whatever their interest is

Ways the Motivational Gift of SERVICE can be used:

  • Hospital Ministry
  • Deacon Ministry
  • Benevolence Committee
  • Social Ministries
  • Missions Committee

Motivational Gift of GIVING – Characteristics:

  • Gives more and expects less
  • Ready and willing to give of their finances to see that a project is accomplished
  • Will make personal financial sacrifices in order to give a large amount of money

Ways the Motivational Gift of GIVING can be used:

  • Stewardship Committee
  • Moral Concerns (Poverty, Politics, Family)
  • Outreach Ministry
  • Church Finances
  • New Ministries

Motivational Gift of EXHORTATION – Characteristics:

  • Has the ability to see your potential and desires to motivate you to reach that potential
  • They have discernment and may sometimes seem nosey
  • They usually make good counselors
  • They want you to learn something and move on to the next step of action

Ways the Motivational Gift of EXHORTATION can be used:

  • Vocational Guidance
  • Youth Ministry
  • Counseling
  • Ministry to Families
  • New Member Training
  • Church Leader Training
  • Nominating Committee

Motivational Gift of MERCY – Characteristics:

  • Reaches out with genuine love which uplifts, soothes and heals those who are hurting
  • This gift keeps others on their toes because even if words are not spoken, they can pick up on the feelings and attitudes of others
  • Has a greater vulnerability to deeper and more frequent hurts because of lack of love

Ways the Motivational Gift of MERCY can be used:

  • Prayer Groups
  • Hospital Ministry
  • Couseling
  • Benevolence
  • Homebound Ministry
  • Social Ministries
  • Mental Health
Some of this material was quoted from the following:
  • C. Peter Wagner “Your Spiritural Gifts”
  • Gordon Lindsay “All About the Gifts of the Spirit”
  • Adult Education and Discipleship Ministries – FBC – Garland “Gifts are for Giving”
  • Biblesoft Libraries
  • Sandy Trice

I’ll Let God Know When I Need Him

2 Jul

God wants all of you and all of me. Proverbs 3:6 says “In all your ways acknowledge Him and He shall direct your path”. Do you give Him more than a token five or ten minutes of quiet time? Do you acknowledge Him in ALL your ways? That means do you consider what God wants from you each time you make a decision? Or, just when you can’t come up with a solution?

God wants more than our church attendance and our participation on committees, and ministries that are self-serving by putting us in the spotlight. God wants a relationship with us! He has the answers we need. He is faithful.

God wants to be the Lord of our lives. He’s not our indulgent grandfather – too old to really understand the world we live in today. How could we even think that we are too far advanced for our God? Is it because He once used a small boy with a slingshot and three small stones to kill a giant?

Even though we may sometimes have a hard time accepting the fact that the Father, Son and Holy Spirit really are relevant in our modern world,predictions were made in the Bible concerning the marvels we are witnessing today.

There is so much knowledge available to us, at our fingertips. In truth, we’re just too busy – even with good things – to give time to the Lord and let Him guide us in every situation. We know He’s there and we know we can call out to Him when we’ve exhausted all our other resources.

Most of us may be satisfied just knowing God is around when we need Him. Then, if and when we truly get in over our heads, we’ll call out to Him. However; more than likely, we have probably already decided on a course of action. Let’s face it, we think we can manage on our own most of the time. The truth is in the message of one of my favorite songs, “I Can’t Even Walk Without Him Holding My Hand“.

“In all your ways, acknowledge Him and He Shall direct your paths”.
Proverbs 3:6

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