Tag Archives: Peace

Our Reasonings Or God’s Secrets?

20 Jun

photo-1436228625646-f30c3e8447b0There are differences in imaginations, reasonings and the secret things of God. Do you know the difference?

Dan 2:22-23   22 He reveals deep and hidden things; he knows what lies in darkness, and light dwells with him. 23 I thank and praise you, O God of my fathers: You have given me wisdom and power, you have made known to me what we asked of you. . .NIV

When adversity and/or great tribulation comes our way – suddenly and unexpected at times – our first reactions will speak loudly of what we believe about God and how much we trust Him.

2 Cor 10:3-5   For though we walk in the flesh, we do not war according to the flesh. 4 For the weapons of our warfare are not carnal but mighty in God for pulling down strongholds, 5 casting down arguments and every high thing that exalts itself against the knowledge of God, bringing every thought into captivity to the obedience of Christ.  NKJV

At times, circumstances arise for which we have no control and no knowledge of how to handle them or cope with them.  Our imaginations begin to run wild. We begin to let the events play over and over in our minds. We lose our composure and our emotions are completely unstable. Our peace goes out the window. Confusion sets in and we find it difficult to focus on any one thing. We find ourselves in the midst of a dreadful storm. The waves are high all around us, the water is rough and our boat is being tossed uncontrollably.  We have to do something, but what? This is where our reasoning comes in.

I found myself in similar circumstances recently.  I am a child of God. I serve Him and walk with Him daily.  I know His Word teaches me to keep my mind stayed on Him and He will keep me in perfect peace.

Isa 26:33 You will keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on You, because he trusts in You. NKJV

Keeping our minds stayed on God during trying times is a deliberate action on our part. It is not always an automatic response on our part.  Walking with God doesn’t come naturally to us, as does walking in the flesh. It always comes down to choice. It is never easy, as we determine what easy means. The difficulty lies in giving all of it to God. Easy to say, hard to do. The struggle within us is almost unbearable at times.  While God is telling us to be still and trust Him,  the turmoil within us is screaming for us to do something quickly!

Our faith and trust in God is tested in these life events.  As we walk with God, on a daily basis, constantly acknowledging Him and seeking Him, we being to be more aware of His presence. At times, we feel that He isn’t nearby, that He is far away and we are alone in our situation. The way we “feel” doesn’t determine the truth. Jesus IS the truth and He is THE WAY. What that means is HE is the one we focus on during these trying times. Only He can guide us to the answers we seek. As we begin to develop our relationship with Him and turn to Him in all things, from the smallest action to the most important, the faster we can  overcome our own reasonings and imaginations.

Ps 119:105-107  Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. 106 I have taken an oath and confirmed it, that I will follow your righteous laws. 107 I have suffered much; preserve my life, O LORD, according to your word. NIVP

119:108-109  108 Accept, O LORD, the willing praise of my mouth,
and teach me your laws. 109 Though I constantly take my life in my hands,
I will not forget your law.  NIV

Picture a lamp at your feet in the darkness. It lights up only a small portion of what is ahead of you. We can’t see what is ahead or around the corner. We can only see where the next step is. That is how to follow God daily; especially in the midst of trials and tribulations. We should grab our lamp and let God lead. Otherwise, we will stumble and fall in the darkness. Of course, we can get back up and stumble some more. Or, we can pick up God’s lamp (His Word, His guidance) and avoid the pitfalls.

God has the answers. He IS the solution. His timing is perfect. He knows the way we take.  He knows the pitfalls. Why not take His hand and “The Lamp” and let Him show us the way?

Merriam Webster’s Definition of “Reason” (ing)  

  1. a (1) :  the power of comprehending, inferring, or thinking especially in orderly rational ways :  intelligence (2) :  proper exercise of the mind (3) :  sanityb :  the sum of the intellectual powers

  2. 3archaic :  treatment that affords satisfaction

This is what faith is:

Heb 11:1  11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see.  NIV

As God’s children, we don’t live and walk by what we see. The circumstances can change. We can change our minds or make wrong decisions. God is the ONE who IS the Way.

When trials come (and they will)  God wants us to run to Him FIRST, not last. He alone knows what we should do. We can’t expect Him to bless our decisions if He is not in them.  He wants our love and our friendship.  Do we want it as much as He does? Or would we rather stumble around in the dark hoping we miss the pitfalls? He leaves the choice to us.

 

 

 

 

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God Knows Where You’re Going Even If You Don’t!

30 Aug

(This is a re-print from May of last year).

Ruth didn’t know the God of Abraham or that she needed Him. God was working on other situations in the background that would eventually involve Ruth. She was completely unaware that God even existed and certainly didn’t know of God’s plans for her future. She was born into a pagan family, raised to worship idols. Ruth was doomed to a life headed for eternal destruction – unknown to her. A man named Elimelech came into Ruth’s life, by God’s providential will.

Elimelech lived in the promised land of God. A drought caused him to mortgage his land, leave his kinsmen, his friends and his country and move with his wife, Naomi and their two sons from Bethlehem to Moab. He was trying to provide for and protect them, but shortly after Elimelech moved his family to Moab he died, leaving Naomi and her sons alone in a strange land.

Naomi should have taken her sons and gone back to their homeland at that time. Instead she stayed in Moab and eventually her sons disobeyed God’s commands and married pagan women named Ruth and Orpah, who served idols. After only a few years of marriage, both young men died, leaving their mother, Naomi, and their heathen wives, Ruth and Orpah alone.

Naomi had lost everything except her two daughters-in-law. Since she had nothing left and did not know what difficulties she might face when she returned to her homeland of Judah, she prepared to leave Moab. Naomi called Ruth and Orpah to her side and encouraged them to return to their families. She was trying to protect the young women, but neither of them wanted to leave her. It was evident that Naomi was very loving and kind and that Ruth and Orpah must have experienced and learned of the love of God through her and through their husbands.

It’s hard to imagine a daughter-in-law loving her mother-in-law so much that she would be willing to leave all she knew, including her own mother and other family members. Ruth was so drawn by God’s love through Naomi that she hungered for more. She knew that she would not find that same love from her people.

This is a beautiful portrayal about how the love of God draws men to Himself. The love of Jesus shines through God’s children and draws others to Him. Their hearts begin to yearn for Him. They want to give up everything else to follow Him.

Ruth had experienced a taste of God’s love through Naomi and did not want to go back to her old life. On the other hand, Orpah had the same opportunity. She loved Naomi. She struggled with letting go, but Orpah wasn’t willing to give up her old life or leave her idols and the sinful ways of her people. She could not let go. Her flesh had a strong hold on her.

We can identify with Orpah. She was not unlike us. She loved her family – Moab was all she knew. It was comfortable to Orpah. It was familiar. Although she was torn in her decision, she was unable to let go of her past. She couldn’t step into the unknown. Orpah made a wrong choice. It was a choice that more than likely condemned her. But the choice was hers. We can identify with why she did it. We face hard decisions every day. Will we go with God or go back to what is comfortable?

Letting go of all we are familiar with – stepping into the unknown – that is what faith is.

• Heb 11:1 Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. NIV

This story is continued – Check back in a few days to see what God had in store for Ruth. Remember, she doesn’t yet know God – she doesn’t know she is actually right in the middle of His will for her life.

What Is Your Goliath?

22 Mar

Watch Out For The Giants

1 Sam 17:4-7   4 A champion named Goliath , who was from Gath, came out of the Philistine camp. He was over nine feet tall. 5 He had a bronze helmet on his head and wore a coat of scale armor of bronze weighing five thousand shekels; 6 on his legs he wore bronze greaves, and a bronze javelin was slung on his back. 7 His spear shaft was like a weaver’s rod, and its iron point weighed six hundred shekels. His shield bearer went ahead of him.  NIV

I’ve been facing Goliath for several months – circling him with my sling, trying to work up the courage to let God be God, and to trust Him to guide that small stone from my sling to the Goliath that I face. While circling my thoughts run rampant. “What if I miss the target?” “What if I make things worse than they already are?” “Maybe I should just drop this sling and stones and just run.” “There must be another way out.”  Goliath was a giant – he was huge, and scary. His voice thundered and he roared at the soldiers, and they were all afraid. No one had ever escaped this giant. To fight him meant sure death in their eyes.

This story in 1 Samuel describes how we feel when facing the giants we face in our lives today. I have been facing several for months now and have allowed them to beat me down so far that everything seemed hopeless. I admit that reluctantly because now that I have come out of it I am disappointed that I allowed it for so long. It happens slowly – very slowly. That’s why the enemy can beat us down so far. We get our eyes off Jesus and begin to give in to negative thoughts.

How It Happens

Here’s how it happened with me. It wasn’t obvious or intentional. My focus changed gradually to my circumstances and my lack – things I wanted and couldn’t have or make happen. That’s when the reasoning takes over and the doubting. Dread steps in along with fear. Worry takes over working itself up to outright fear.

The trip down wasn’t obvious. Everything seemed to be going along the same as usual – until it wasn’t. I was already praying and doing all I knew to do, thinking I had a handle on everything. I found myself walking around my home asking God what was wrong with me. Depression and lethargy were taking over every moment of my day. This was my Goliath.

So, What Do I Do About It?

I had already been praying and searching for answers – doing all I could to force myself to keep putting one foot in front of the other. I had been fighting a bad chest cold and cough which was making matters worse. After about six weeks I began to feel better which immediately made my outlook better to begin with.

God seemed to be sitting back and letting me flounder. I’m not blaming Him, I just don’t   understand why it takes so long sometimes for me to get it! But – in the process – I am discovering things about myself that need to be fixed. And, so I did.

A couple of days ago I was watching a very old movie that caught my eye, simply called “Goliath.” I knew the story. It caught my eye because many years ago God had nudged me to read and study about David and Goliath. I was going through some traumatic things and His Word in the Bible is always encouraging.

I had heard the story from childhood and all throughout my adult life. I have read it many times. (Hint: Never assume you already know it all or that God’s Word, even though you might have memorized it, isn’t new every morning.) God’s Word is progressive. It IS new every time you read it.

Back to the movie. At first it didn’t seem very exciting – the scene was in a desert with only sand and rocks and soldiers. Didn’t matter – I was multi-tasking – playing solitaire on my tablet. I looked up every now and then to catch a glimpse of the characters. I especially wanted to see who was cast to play David – the young shepherd boy God had anointed to be the next King. I also wanted to take a look at Goliath to see just how big and mean he looked. He looked about like I suspected. But . . .

David – the young shepherd boy who would one day become King as God had decreed and Samuel had anointed – that was a different story. He wasn’t as I imagined him at all. He truly looked like a young teenage boy.

God Doesn’t Look At Things The Way We Do

Saul’s soldiers were dressed in sharp-looking uniforms with great helmets, shields and swords. The opposing group looked very scary and mean. Goliath was taunting God’s men saying awful things about what he was going to do to them, and his mission was accomplished – they were scared. They had heard of his reputation and knew that no one had every survived his attacks. None of the soldiers would volunteer to fight him.

David just happened to be there to deliver food to his brothers. It’s hard to imagine a war where the men are so close that they can yell at one another, but that’s how it was. David heard Goliath taunting the soldiers of God and couldn’t believe that they were allowing him to do so. After all, he was God’s enemy and David couldn’t understand why Goliath was being allowed to  get away with his taunting and his  threats.

Continued . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Inspiration to Blog

19 Jan

I have been working toward writing more. In that regard, I was “studying” about blogging at The Daily Post – Blogging 101. They requested we submit an article to them as to our inspiration for blogging. Following was my response. Thought I might as well share it with my followers.

What inspires me as a blogger: People – All people, everywhere inspire me to blog. I want all people to know God in heaven, like I do. Not that I’m special. I certainly am not. I’m just the opposite. I’m ordinary. Probably not even ordinary; below ordinary. But, I serve a God who loves me just like I am, warts and all. Really. How do I know this? Because day after day, no matter what goes on in my life, He is there to encourage me and lift me up. He is there to let me know I am special – special to Him. That’s all that really matters to me. It’s all that matters because I’ve tasted so many other things that don’t satisfy.

The one constant in my life, the one person who is always there with an open hand for me to come and sit a while, is Jesus Christ, my Lord. He’s not only my Lord, He’s my friend. It’s not as quirky as it might sound. It is so real. That’s the reason I’m inspired to blog. I want everyone to know that God loves them just exactly as they are and has open arms to welcome them – no requirements other than to acknowledge Him, ask His forgiveness of sins, and accept Him. It’s that simple.

There aren’t a list of rules to follow after that. Simply be. One day at a time. Listen with your heart and your spirit. Listen to your conscience. His burden is easy, His yoke is light. I blog to give hope to everyone who might not have any, and acceptance to those who don’t feel accepted by anyone. This inspiration is constant – never-ending.

COMFORTABLE?

5 Mar

Comfortable?
by Linda Weaver  
6/26/2013 / Christian Living

As God’s children we are sometimes led by Him into uncharted waters – areas we are unfamiliar with. In the Bible there are stories of many who were called by God into unfamiliar territory or directed by Him to do things that were way out of their comfort zone.

In Genesis, Chapter 12, we read that God told Abram (later called Abraham) to leave his country, his people, and his father’s household to go to a place God would later show him.

Wait a minute — do you mean God would ask someone He loved to pick up everything and just go somewhere else without telling them where?

What in the world would you do if God placed that instruction in your heart? Oh, and did I forget to say that Abram was 75 years old at that time? So, in case you are thinking you’re too old think again.

Further, the Scripture says, “So, Abram left, as God had told him”. I mean, Abram packed up everything – his belongings, his family, his animals and left his old life behind.

Okay, I’m sure I can imagine what you may be thinking. I don’t have the space to write about it all here. However; if you think God wouldn’t ask something of you without giving you a map from beginning to end, you are mistaken, my friend. That is what faith is all about.

Besides, I’m sure God may have already directed many of you in some areas of your lives. And, if so, how did you respond? I can probably guess at many of the questions and excuses that you could come up with. (Ask me how I know.)

“God, are you talking to me?”
“I must have imagined that.”
“Where in the world did that come from?”
“Surely God wouldn’t tell me to do that.”
“That doesn’t make any sense.”
“I can’t do that. How would I . . . ”

You see, the very lives we live follow God into many unknown areas and uncharted waters if we are truly listening to Him and letting Him direct us. It may not be about going to a “far country” as God instructed Abram. But, it may be a tug at our hearts to do something else which may take just as much faith. We can’t map out our lives like we do a vacation. When we walk with God, life gets very interesting at many levels. Besides, a “far country” is anywhere that is unfamiliar to us.

Think I’m a little out of balance? Well, it’s okay if you think that. Sometimes I’m not so sure myself. But, I do know this. I trust my God in heaven. I know His voice, and I follow His direction to the best of my ability.

Do I make mistakes? You can be sure of it. Will I again? I’m sure of it. Why? Because I am most certainly human. But, I have plenty to say about how faithful God has been to me in the midst of many a trial and many a storm. Most of them took me on a journey I didn’t think I was ready for with no idea of exactly how I was going to get there. My peace came from within, knowing that God would never fail me because He never has.

Each journey I take with my Heavenly Father, takes more of my trust and faith. And, each journey gets more exciting. Scary, yes, but exciting. God knows where I’m going that’s what is important. He can see around the corner — I can’t.

Walking with God doesn’t allow for being in a rut. Don’t like being uncomfortable? Neither do I, but I want what God wants for my life and that usually means being a bit uncomfortable. It also means not coming to a dead-end.

My friends, God wants you still kicking until He calls you to your mansion in the sky. If you sit down and get comfortable you’ll miss out on some exciting things.

Don’t Panic

22 May

Life is full of surprises. Ask me how I know!! But, keep in mind that nothing surprises God. He knows us – our past, present and future.

Naturally, staying calm in a crisis is much easier said than done. But, there are some ways we can prepare ourselves in the event we have to face those surprises in life. Most important is that we do our best to stay in a close relationship with God. His Holy Spirit lives within us and is there to be our comforter, our guide and our teacher.

As we mature in the ways of the Lord, we learn that He has all the answers. He IS the answer. That isn’t just a “churchy” statement. Our first reactions is usually to take matters into our own hands or call everyone we know.  We need to make it a habit to turn to God first, at all times in every situation. Then, it is important that we allow Him to lead us. I realize how difficult this may sound, but if we can discipline ourselves to do this in all things, we’ll be better equipped to handle life’s harder, unexpected events.

God knows not only what is behind us, but what is ahead of us. He can take us on a straight path to the solution of any problem. Look at it this way – if you were lost without a map and had no idea which way to go, and a good Samaritan came along and said he knew the way, he could help you. He could draw you a map and tell you about all the turns and signs along the way, or he could just say, “Follow me”. Following him would be the easiest, quickest way.

That’s what God does for us. He just says, “Follow me”. There is no need for us to waste any  time trying to work out what we are going to on our own, making wrong turns along the way. The quickest, easiest way is just to follow God. The stumbling block is for us to do is get control of our emotions and to keep our minds from imagining all sorts of scenarios.

I heard a story once that is a great illustration. It was told by a police captain who was called to an automobile accident, a really bad one. There were people everywhere – medics – policemen – firemen – and bystanders. The captain was criticized later because he seemed cold, unemotional and too far removed from the events going on around him.

He was later interviewed by a local reporter about his seemingly uncaring attitude. The captain’s reply  to the reporter brought a hush to the crowd and turned their outcry  to one of a quiet hush and tearful eyes. He explained that in order for him to do his job, he had to remain calm and keep his mind alert. There was so much chaos all around him and so much anger and confusion that there had to be someone who could make the hard decisions and direct the others in a manner to keep order. He said that his heart was breaking inside and his mind was racing, but it was mandatory that he keep his mind focused so that he could do his job.

If we all fall apart in a crisis there is confusion and chaos.  There must be order. God is a God of order. We can see all throughout the Scriptures that God had a plan from the very beginning of time. We cannot presume that we know better than He does. We can’t know better. God is our strength and our refuge. He knows the way out. He has the answers.

Some would say that they can’t control their emotions, which is a lie they have believed from satan. Their emotions take over and they can then cause other problems that have to be addressed, adding to the already bad situation and taking up valuable, possibly life-threatening time. Controlling our emotions is a matter of self-control. It’s not that we can’t, it’s that we don’t want to.

It’s not easy to control our emotions when everything within us is screaming and our hearts are racing. We think we don’t have time to talk to God about it. If we proceed without Him, it’s kind of like jumping off the top of a building and calling out to God to save you. We can’t unscramble eggs. We can avoid making our situation worse by taking just a few minutes to ask God for His help. We can ask Him for the peace we need and to direct us as we make decisions. It just takes a moment to call out to Him. And, that moment can change the entire outcome of the situation. The Bible tells us  to acknowledge God in all our ways.

  • Proverbs 3:5-6    5 Trust in the LORD with all your heart  and lean not on your own understanding; 6 in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight. NIV

We all want our path to be as straight as possible. The key is to acknowledge God. Put Him first, not last. Don’t be guilty of making Him an afterthought. Don’t take detours, follow God’s path. His yoke is easy and His burden is light.

  • Matt 11:28-30    28 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest. 29 Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”  NIV

Contentment

2 May

Contentment is a feeling of calm satisfaction, according to Encarta Dictionary. How many of us can say we are content? Is there something in particular that gives you that feeling of calm satisfaction?

In today’s world there is so much stimulation around us at all times. Rarely do we enjoy the quiet. All of our senses are somehow ignited almost everywhere we go. Many of us can’t get away without taking along our phones, our tablets, or our gaming devices. I get frustrated with all those around me looking at their phones and engaging in something else at all times. To me, it’s kind of like talking to someone who isn’t really giving me their undivided attention. We call it “social media.” Call me old-fashioned, but, when I’m with my friends and family, I want their undivided attention.

The social media is a great way to stay in touch. It also keeps us from being so alone. On the other hand, it becomes more difficult to be content when we are not engaging in some sort of social interaction or being entertained by our electronic devices. Don’t get me wrong, I love having the ability to “reach out and touch someone” with an immediate response on Face Book, or get an instant reply from an email or text. Who wants to wait anymore for snail mail? Who wants to wait anymore for anything?

We can interpret “calm satisfaction” in many ways. To some, it may be difficult to be calm and/or satisfied if they aren’t constantly interacting, socially, in one way or another. To others, like me, calm satisfaction means not having a constant internal yearning for my cell phone, my tablet, my computer, or the television. Satisfaction is described in the Encarta Dictionary as “the feeling of pleasure when a need or desire is fulfilled; the fulfillment of a need, claim, or desire.”

Humans are definitely complex. As I am now a senior citizen (a new position in my long resume), I find myself looking back to the way things used to be. I suppose that is normal at my age. Actually, it is one of the ways I recognize I am, in fact, getting old. Anyway, interaction with others is still so important. It fills an empty spot inside that can’t be filled while trying to communicate in some other way.

Talking to God is the best wireless connection we have today! He isn’t outdated because of all the little devices that keep us occupied. Scripture tells us that there is nothing new under the sun. (Ecc. 1:9) Recognize that God created each one of us. He is the one who gave us the knowledge necessary to create all of the wonderful toys we have today. Psalms 139 tells us that no matter how high we go, or how low – we can’t get away from God.

Ps 139:7-12

7 Where can I go from your Spirit?
Where can I flee from your presence?
8 If I go up to the heavens, you are there;
if I make my bed in the depths, you are there.
9 If I rise on the wings of the dawn,
if I settle on the far side of the sea,
10 even there your hand will guide me,
your right hand will hold me fast.

NIV

 

Contentment, in my opinion, is more than satisfying ourselves with anything that will keep us occupied, just so we don’t have to deal with our emotions or be bothered with direct communication.  We need to examine what contentment means to us. Go deep. Determine whether or not there is something missing – a true inner peace that we can only find in one another and with God.

We were created to have fellowship – not just on social media. We all need one another. We need our friends who  have skin on! We need real fellowship with our Heavenly Father. We can’t send him a text message or an email. We can’t tweet Him. We have to take time out to spend true, uninterrupted time with our Lord. True contentment, peace, and joy come from our one on one relationship with Him. True contentment comes from Him. He’s still there when all the other devices, or even friends, aren’t. He is the only source of true contentment. He gives the calm satisfaction that we are all in search of. He is the only source of that true, calm satisfaction.

 

 

We Do What We Do Because . . .

6 Jul

Discovering Our Spiritual Gifts (3) Continued

The importance of discovering our spiritual gift in the Body of Christ brings us into one accord as a church and helps us to become more accommodating. We begin to understand and fulfill the calling God has in our lives, as well as giving meaning to our participation in our congregation.

The more we understand about ourselves and the gift God has created us with, the more we can understand what motivates us and those we love. We then will also be less critical of others when they don’t react the way we think they should. We are also less likely to be jealous or angry when we realize each individual has a unique gift – given by God – for a particular task.

Sometimes we “feel better” if we jump into every activity that is presented to us. We are good at several things and believe that we can certainly be beneficial to the new project. Besides, it makes us feel better about ourselves.

We all have a variety of things we do well. Whether we are in charge of a project or baking cookies for the event. (Trust me – some would say that baking cookies is the most important thing we can do for a function!)

Maturity in Christ brings balance in all areas. We learn to embrace the work we are designed for with enthusiasm and joy instead of dread and frustration. This being said – we will be better at prioritizing our time and less likely to get involved in so many things that we can’t possibly do any of them very well. When we learn to refuse the guilt that the enemy, satan, tries to inflict upon us, we can begin to do the things we love to do rather than the things we feel that we should do (triggered by guilt or other motive).

God has given the church gifts as tools to do His work. They are not toys to use for fun, nor are they rewards that we earn. Each born-again believer was created by God. He knew us while we were still in our Mothers’ womb. (Ps 139) He knew every day of our lives before we came into the world. He decided what gift He wanted us to have – how our personality and character would come into play. It is very important that we discover the gift God instilled within us and that we don’t try to do someone else’s job.

Use HIS Power, Not Yours

5 Jul

Discovering Our Spiritual Gifts (2) – Continued

WE are the church. The building we meet in on Sundays is a meeting place. God lives in our hearts and His Holy Spirit will motivate us at times to go out of our way to meet a need or to help someone.

We should be sensitive to what motivates us the most. For instance, if a friend was transferred to another city and had to move to a new location – and really didn’t want to go, in what way would you prefer to help? Would you (1) Have an immediate idea of people who could help and start making plans to line them up for the task; (2) Physically offer your assistance to pack and move them; (3) Help them financially; (4) Encourage them in the areas that are troubling them; (5) Do some research to help them gather information that may be needed; (6) Show compassion and understanding about all the things that are concerning them with the situation; (7) Make sure they are aware of all the facts of their decision and do your best to make them aware of any possible problems?

You may find that there are many areas listed above where you could help. More than likely, there will be one in particular that your are the most concerned with. That will be a hint of the gift God has placed in your heart to reach out to others. Eventually, as we mature in Christ, we will be more effective in many of these areas. Knowing the one thing that motivates us the most does not mean we are exempt from becoming more sensitive in the other areas of need.

God will be honored when we use our gifts. The Holy Spirit is always at work around us, and when we use our gift in His power, God receives the praise.

(1 Peter 4:10-11)
“Each one should use whatever gift he has received to serve others, faithfully administering God’s grace in its various forms. If anyone speaks, he should do it as one speaking the very words of God. If anyone serves, he should do it with the strength God provides, so that in all things God may be praised through Jesus Christ. To him be the glory and the power for ever and ever. Amen.”

God determines what gifts we are given. Discovery of what motivates us may take some time. As we mature in our walk with God we will gradually become more like Jesus and participate in all gifts, as needed. But there will always be one that motivates us – this is by God’s design.

1 Cor 12:11 But all these worketh that one and the selfsame Spirit, dividing to every man severally as he will.

1 Cor 12:18 But now hath God set the members every one of them in the body, as it hath pleased him.

Gifts of the Spirit and Fruits of the Spirit are different. The fruit of the Spirit is evident in our character – how we behave. The gifts of the Spirit reflect God’s work – what we do for Him. Following are the Fruits of the Spirit. Our goal is to allow the Holy Spirit to teach us how to walk with the evidence of these fruits in our lives. (Galatians 5:22)

Fruits of the Spirit

• Love
• Joy
• Peace
• Longsuffering/Patience
• Gentleness
• Goodness
• Faith
• Self Control

Note: We learn these fruits by facing issues in our lives. For example, in order to learn “longsuffering (patience)” we will be faced with issues that require us to put it to work! Read the list again with that in mind!

Motivational Gifts
Of the Spirit

• Serving/Helping
• Giving
• Administration
• Prophecy
• Exhortation/Encouraging
• Showing Mercy
• Teaching

There are other gifts God gives us that will be discussed later, but first we are going to go a little deeper into the characteristics of these 7 gifts and how to recognize them in our lives.

Crazy Thoughts

26 Jun

Do you ever have thoughts that surprise you? Do you ever feel a slight “nudge” inside the pit of your stomach when you are doing something and all of a sudden you get a “feeling” you shouldn’t? Or, maybe a nudge that you should do something and you don’t?

Thoughts run rampant in and out of our heads all the time. How can we know where it all comes from? I wish I had the ability to put into words how important it is for each of us to spend time getting to know God intimately. Just because we may be advanced in years, or really, really smart, doesn’t mean we are hearing God speak to us. Nor, does it mean we are hearing correctly from within.

Think about it. Meditate on it. So many different events in our lives have molded and shaped our attitudes and our beliefs. Whether we intend to or not, we have mind-sets and preconceived ideas. In other words, our minds are “made up” about certain things. We have no intention of listening to anyone tell us anything different. Besides, we don’t have time to slow down!

We are creatures of habit. We like having our own way. We certainly don’t like anyone else telling us anything that goes against what we already know and believe to be true. Seems like today that our patience wears thinner and thinner. Our world moves faster, time is of the essence. We have appointment books that tell us where we’re going next or what we’re going to do in the next hour. We just don’t want that messed with!

Frankly, not listening to what I call “that red flag” inside of us – in the pit of our stomach, can be really bad. I’ll give you an example. A few days ago I was on a trip in an area I was unfamiliar with. I was driving a car I was unfamiliar with. I was far away from home and having a great time. I was sight-seeing along the coast and happened to see a sign stating that there were no more gas stations for the next 30 miles. I looked at my gas gauge and saw that it appeared to be okay. But inside, I “had a feeling” that I should probably stop and get gas. (Wait for it . . .)

It was getting late, and based on the mileage I had gotten so far, I was really sure I would be okay in waiting to get gas. Oops! should have listened to that small voice inside. The dreaded warning light popped up on the gas gauge and I had more that 33 miles to go. Don’t know how that happened, but that’s not the issue. The issue is that I should have listened to that very still voice inside trying to warn me of danger ahead. Obviously, I couldn’t have a “do-over”.

I was on a virtual roller coaster along the mountains and coast of California. It was getting late – would be dark soon. The gauge was fine when I started the journey. What I didn’t count on (and wasn’t familiar with) were the mountains using more gas.

I’m normally calm and at peace. I’ve been down this path so many times you would think by now I would pay attention. It happens – I just didn’t want to take the time to stop if I didn’t have to and it appeared to me I didn’t have to. What frustrated me eventually was that I knew better. I had done it before – ignore the warnings, I mean. I didn’t really realize they were warnings at the time. But, we can always look back and see where we’ve been – think about it.

Anyway, I literally had a panic attack. I kept watching the gas gauge. I tried to read the manual to see how much gas I actually had left – no clue in the book. I wondered if a light would come on to warn me when the gas was getting lower. Got my answer right away – the warning light came on. At that time I had about 20 miles to go. At a red light in the middle of nowhere – don’t ask me – I jumped out of my car and ran to the car behind me. I told them my story and asked them to please keep an eye on us and told them why. I’m not sure what I expected them to do, I just felt like I had to do something. But, they didn’t even respond to me. They just looked at me like I was crazy. I guess I was at that stage.

I jumped back in the car and the light turned green – still don’t know why that light was there. Anyway, while I was stopped at the light I re-set my trip gauge so I could count down the 14 miles I had left to go. One mile down, now five – okay now we’ve gone nine – just maybe we’ll make it. By now it’s getting darker. I see transients along the road. The people I stunned when I jumped out of my car on the mountain top were still behind me. I coasted down the hills, hoping that would help.

My personal vehicle only has eight miles left after the light comes on – my book says so. So, I had no idea what await me. Alas, I began to see houses and lights and we had just about reached civilization. So, at least there was life close by if we did run out of gas. But, we didn’t. We actually made it to the gas station on time. I waved to the lady behind me as if to say “Thank you, I’m okay now”. I’m sure she really didn’t care at all. But, I felt as though I had imposed on her and should at least thank her for keeping an eye on me – even though she had no choice at all since I was in front of her. She was probably more concerned that I not run out of gas and cause her to run into me.

Can you see my point? Had I only listened to that small voice inside warning me. I could have actually enjoyed my sight-seeing trip. But, all I saw was that blazing yellow light calling me a dummy all the way. Just imagine what would have happened had I actually run out of gas – how much fear, frustration, time, trouble I would have had to endure, all because I did not listen to God’s Holy Spirit warn me.

You ask me how I know it was God’s Holy Spirit? Because I know God looks out after me and he warns me of things like that. Why didn’t I listen? The same reason you don’t. I thought I knew better based on what I already knew about the car. And, yes, even though I know God and listen for His voice all the time, I’m not perfect. I get in a hurry. I think it’s my own inner voice speaking and I ignore it. I was talking to my sister, we were laughing and having fun. The voice was small, I even considered it my own imagination because the car appeared to have plenty of gas.

Are you getting the picture? I’m no super human – I love God, I talk to Him and I listen to Him. I should know better because I’ve made enough mistakes in my life. So, why am I telling you all this if I don’t have the right answer? Because it takes a lifetime of training – you won’t “arrive” until you are in heaving at the feet of the Master. We must continually be aware of God – acknowledge Him – as the Scripture tells us. Keep our minds on Him and He will keep us in peace – again a quote from the Bible.

We always need God. We have to listen all the time. We can’t just assume we have all the right answers and we don’t need to stop and ask Him. When, in truth, many of our mistakes are made because we do just that. We are the ones to blame. God tries to warn us. We have to listen and then – yep, obey.

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