Posted in The Church

God calls us to BE the Church

And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. – Matt 16:18

Today there is much angst among churchgoers, fighting battles in the name of Christ.  I don’t see it as noble as some do.  For the most part, I believe that the church-going goes to church and does not know what it means to be the church.  So that in times of ‘famine’, there is chaos in the ranks.  There has been an unnatural dependency placed – in the church-going.  It goes something like this:  I go to church, you feed me,  we sing songs, pray and hear the bible (if it is a bible reading church), and I serve and give so that church remains open – and go home and live my life.   Jesus never spoke on standing in protest so that a building would remain open.  He did say a great deal on what it means to be in fellowship with Him and with each other – and in each word, there is nothing about fighting to keep a building open so we may accomplish this.  The churches have replaced the meaning of fellowship with an act of ‘going to church’ rather than it being a daily interaction that becomes part of our everyday lives. Our lives should consist of regular meetings with one another, however, with whoever and wherever the situation provides. Instead, we say hi, and have ‘fellowship’ over a quick coffee after the service and chit-chat – mostly about everything but the Lord.

Personally, I don’t think the Lord is on board with all the protesting so that these buildings stay open. In fact, I believe He is allowing this so that people will come to their senses.  Man has been able to close these doors, and so is the very evidence that this is not the Church Jesus is building – for the gates of hell cannot prevail against her!  

Instead of joining the ranks in protest, we should be going out, finding fellowship with one another, and learning what it means to BE the church of Jesus Christ.  Come on, church, snap out of it!

Daily Walk with Jesus

Reach out today with the Body of Christ, and begin connecting in true fellowship with Christ and each other.  Share what the Lord is speaking to you in your reading of the Scriptures and what you are struggling with or have been encouraged.  Be aware of each other’s practical needs, and help where it is possible for you to do so. Be there, for each other, in the name of the Lord Jesus Christ – as the Lord leads!  Amen!

Posted in Depression

How to (not Feel) but Be Your Best

Today, more than ever, we are led and driven by our feelings, emotions and senses.  Most of our daily choices are based upon these.   We become victims to the plethora of waves that assail us.  We are dominated by the many options and by this are easily overcome, for example, I went to the store the other day to purchase a face cream and left without one!  Why?  Too many to choose from and not knowing which one would be best suited for me.  When we do not know what we need, we will be easily overwhelmed by all the present options.  Likewise, this is true in our spiritual walk with the Lord. 

The first line of defence is to understand that our feelings, emotions and senses – are not what we base our decisions on.  Nor do we allow logic and reason to speak up for us. The result when we allow these to make our decisions for us will be mental anguish. When/if we fall into depression and anxiety – we need to retrace our steps and see where we have done this.  If we do not have patience and are easily irritated -the same thing. 

Depression, anxiety, irritation, anger, and fear come when we make our world and reality about us rather than about Jesus Christ.   I have heard so many well-meaning Christians talk of their depression like it was some kind of cross they were to carry, and this could not be farther from the truth.  It is a red flag that we need to see as one looks at an indicator light flashing on their car’s dashboard.  They are warning that something is about to go wrong unless we make necessary changes. 

For our mental health, peace and safety, God gives us His Word to direct us and often, it goes against what our emotions and logical reason would counsel us. 

We often expect the Lord to come down where we are, petitioning in what is earthly and sensual with impassioned pleas. He will not come down to us where we are; instead, the Lord expects us to come to where He is and leave all that encumbers us behind – when we do it this way, we will hear Him speak and direct our way.  It is a bad habit we form in relating to Him according to our needs and wants, and it is time we discipline ourselves to seek Him correctly.  I believe as we do, all the mental torments we are currently under will fall away. 

Daily Walk with Jesus

If then you were raised with Christ, seek those things which are above, where Christ is, sitting at the right hand of God.  Set your mind on things above, not on things on the earth.  For you died, and your life is hidden with Christ in God. – Col 3:1-2

Posted in Faith

The Practice of Rest

Have you ever looked at a sleeping baby in its mother or father’s arms?  There is no greater picture of child-like faith than this.  The babe is in total relaxation and can take the rest needed for its health and growth.  This is what the Lord asks of us, (complete) faith in Him that brings us into His rest.   

Lately, I have been tuning in to my body and how tense I am – even at rest.  One example is at night I tend to clench my teeth together.  I notice that I breathe more often than not relatively shallow.  To breathe deeply is a known relaxing technique and quite beneficial to our entire bodies.  I believe most of us walk around like one who is bracing for impact without even knowing it!  We are so bound in tension that we think it is normal.   It’s worth our attention, for I truly believe it may be one reason why we struggle with certain bodily tissues, such as neck/shoulder pain, back issues, headaches, constipation, diarrhea and insomnia, to name a few. 

Personally, I believe the Lord is telling me to slow down and be mindful of purposeful stretching and making a regular practice of deep breathing.   It was here that I actually saw how tense I actually was! 

Daily Walk with Jesus

The Lord is our rest (Heb 4), and in Him, we live, move and have our being.  Let us incorporate this truth into our physical body – and allow Him to bring rest in the place where we tend to neglect. 

‘Lord, show us the places where we are not resting, both physical and spiritually – and give us Your help in insight in how we can change.’

Be still, and know that I am God – Psalm 46: 10a

Posted in Seek God

Putting out the Fires

At any given time in each of our lives, we will encounter fires.  They will consist of financial upset, marriage issues, wayward children, and the list can go on.  As believers, we do what we do best; we pray and believe God for His will.  We will ‘stand on the promises of God’ and weather the storm.  And so we go from fire to fire doing the same.  We have got it wrong in the general sense in doing it this way and will explain.  The Lord is consistent in relaying to us what is essential to all who believe in Him throughout His ministry and the scriptures, and that is that we may know Him, and He knows us.  Upon this, we are better equipped to navigate through the trials and tribulations of life.  We go astray, in a sense, when we chase the fires seeking to put them out ahead of this.  It is an easy thing to do, as we all do it, and if we were honest could see it for what we have made it into, which is self-seeking.  I believe we put ourselves in danger when we reduce our faith to become this way and do well to remind ourselves what is important to God rather than what is important to us. 

I do not pray for these alone, but also for those who will believe in Me through their word;  that they all may be one, as You, Father, are in Me, and I in You; that they also may be one in Us, that the world may believe that You sent Me.And the glory which You gave Me I have given them,that they may be one just as We are one:I in them, and You in Me;that they may be made perfect in one, and that the world may know that You have sent Me, and have loved them as You have loved Me.- John 17:20-23

Daily Walk with Jesus

Let us change our way of relating to the Lord by not asking Him for remedy or rescue from our troubles, for a season.  So we would instead ask Him how we may better know Him through these same challenges.  Ask Him to give us understanding of Himself and how we may identify with Him in them.  We will discover that not only do we deepen our relationship with the Lord in this way, but we also will find how He takes care of the fires too!  Not only this, but we will come away with revolutionary change to our faith and knowledge of the Lord Jesus Christ that will take our spiritual life a step higher then it once was. For we will learn what it means to be one with the Lord like never before and be addicted to the joy this gives us so we strive to seek no longer for ourselves but for Him.

Posted in Grief

Grief & Loss

I often wonder how anyone can go through grief and loss without the Lord.  As believers, we have the Comforter, who enters our lives doing things we don’t even realize to help us.  The comfort that comes from above and is within us can go into the depths that nothing else can touch.  For those who do not have the living God in them, the level of comfort they seek for and receive only can soothe so far.  Most often, what is reached for is ways to escape, and so they don’t really deal with grief and loss in a healthy way.  We as believers in Christ are in a place of vulnerability and may reach for a quick and convenient way of coping to help us get through. Still, we only will be left worse off than before because we are not addressing our most urgent need. When the pain of loss comes to us, we want relief and want it now, and this is where we easily fall into the temptation to seek other things and people rather than God to go about it His way.  The Lord is big enough to take all that comes our way and help us walk through it in His Hands; only when we determine to walk with Him will we learn and discover Him in a new (and exciting) way.  He will give us resurrection Life, that will breathe into the place of death we mourn because we will receive His heart in the matter which is the only medicine that will heal us – when we are willing to go with Him. 

Daily Walk with Jesus

There are many forms of loss and grief we encounter in life.  When we face loss, let us be careful in how we manage it.  We will either seek immediate soothing of our carnal soul and mind, which will only leave us needing and wanting more for it will not heal us.  Or, we will seek comfort from the Comforter Himself who will lead us to the Healer of hearts. 

As believers, there is no greater place of intimacy than seeking the Lord in identification with the sufferings He also endured.  That we turn our grief to Him as an offering and invitation, to enter with Him, so we may mourn as He mourned ….’that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings,’ Phil 3:10a.  This can only be reached as we submit the Holy Spirit to take us into a realm beyond ourselves so we may partake with Him in this way. 

For it was fitting for Him, for whom are all things and by whom are all things, in bringing many sons to glory, to make the captain of their salvation perfect through sufferings. Heb 2:10

Posted in Testimony

Re-Calibrate

Questions to ponder in our walk with the Lord:

Do I love the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father?

Do I enjoy the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father?

Do I believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and God the Father? 

Who do I fear more man or God?

Those who are close to us will know what it is we enjoy, they will know what consumes our mind and heart and will know what we fear.  It will be clear by the evidence of our life through our conversation and our actions.  What do we talk about?  What occupies our time?  What do we give our minds to in what we watch and listen?  Who do we obey?

We can say we love God with great passion, but the truth will be revealed in how this displays in our day to day.  It is up to us to take a sober look at this and make the necessary changes that will recalibrate us, so what we say will line up with what we do (and is in our heart).

Our lives are to testify the Lord Jesus Christ – period.   The first step to attain this is honesty, first with ourselves, then with God.  When we humble ourselves before Him He gives us a new burst of Holy Spirit-inspired unction to walk rightly before Him.  The critical part is to do just that and not hesitate, or we are in greater danger of rejecting the Lord’s grace.

Jesus asked Peter, ‘Do you love Me?’ three times, one for each time he denied knowing Him to others, see John 21:15-17. We are no different and deny Jesus many ways – without our even recognizing this. Thankfully, we can seek grace. God extends us through His Son when we recognize our folly. Jesus gives Peter instruction and for all who love Him: ‘Feed my lambs, Feed and tend My sheep.’ Only when we live lives FOR God can we be of use so we may feed and tend to one another in His name as He asks us to.

Daily Walk with Jesus

Begin asking ourselves questions and seeing if what we say lines up with what we do and is in our heart and make any necessary changes.

and you have persevered and have patience, and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.Nevertheless I have this against you, that you have left your first love. Remember therefore from where you have fallen; repent and do the first works,or else I will come to you quickly and remove your lampstand from its place—unless you repent. Rev 2:3-5

Posted in God

The Sweet Spot

The ‘sweet spot’ is relatively a new term that describes a place where we feel fulfilled.  The world has many sweet spots where God has only one.  The world’s sweet spots will never completely sustain and satisfy the human heart, where in Christ- this is His promise to us.  This place is one that to the degree we are willing to give to obtain it, which is determined by the willingness and degree to how much we surrender – we will receive and experience the sweet spot of knowing, serving and following Jesus Christ and its vast depths. 

Since we live in a society that has become one of convenience and pleasure-centric, it is not surprising how we can carry such a mind-set into our spiritual lives; Our faith/religion/church is there to serve us and our needs.  Jesus is there for us.  Is this what the bible teaches?  No!  We were bought for a price, and no longer our own, but belong to God to live lives according to His way.  Jesus paid for us with His blood.  1 Cor 6:20.

Daily Walk with Jesus

The gift God has given us is His Son, and in Him we have everlasting life.  We are to heed the warning in the parable of the lazy servant who dug what the master gave him, into the ground, Matt 25:14-30. 

If we are given to worry, fear, and are easily annoyed and dissatisfied or seek soothing, comfort and pleasure not from the Lord, but in the world – it indicates we have dug into the ground our ‘sweet spot’ like the wicked servant. 

An indication that we are utilizing our ‘talent’ is that no matter what circumstance we face, we can say ‘it is well with my soul.’

Posted in Humility

Humility the Place of Safety

As those who trust Jesus Christ, our objection in this life is to love the Lord God – with all our heart, mind, soul and strength and to love our neighbor as we love ourselves; Matt 22: 37-40.  As we embark on our life in Christ, we have all that we need to accomplish these tasks (2 Pet 1:3), but they do not go without our diligence and self-sacrifice (Luke 9:23).   I would say that our success in achieving God’s will is not in our perfection necessarily but rather in our humility.  God will be able to accomplish the most impossible fetes in our lives ONLY when we are humble before Him.  Sometimes we go ahead of humility and set out to complete tasks in His name only to be defeated.  We end up being consumed on the attack and the attacker, then on what the Lord wants to accomplish in us.  O, how many times I have done this, and still do!  I am thankful for the Lord’s grace and mercy!  He reminds us that it is when we are humble before Him that we are victorious. 

He gave us the strategy of the Lord’s Kingdom; in Luke 6:27-31–  unless we are humble, we will never be able to carry out His instructions; bless those who curse us, pray for those who hurt you. 

When we seek to be justified and claim our rights in making our defense – as our first line of business, we are already defeated.  Until we see that the person or situation is never our problem – but the means that God is using for the shaping of His sons and daughters – we will continue to live in much turmoil and futility with no spiritual growth.  The same crisis and upset will be repeated until we see it for what it is and act in God’s way towards it an not our way.

Daily Walk with Jesus

So humble yourselves before God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. James 4:7

Posted in Obedience

What we Sow we will Reap

Do you not know that to whom you present yourselves slaves to obey, you are that one’s slaves whom you obey, whether of sin leading to death, or of obedience leading to righteousness? Rom 6:16.

Our walk with the Lord is black and white, with no shadow of grey.  We are with the Lord or against Him.  We are faithful or unfaithful.  Daily we must strive to overcome and endure, and this requires our diligence. I genuinely believe that a great deal of our grief, hardship, and turmoil comes through neglect of understanding this crucial spiritual law – what we sow is how we will reap.  Far too quickly, we walk in habits and hold to old mindsets, which are in fact what we obey, rather than the Word.  We take to things and people to be our source of comfort, joy and escape, and in all these, we serve not the Lord and instead serve the world, ourselves and Satan.

Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you.  Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded – James 4:7-8

The minute we submit to something other than the Lord, Satan and his crew legally enter into our lives to set up shop, no matter how seemingly small and insignificant the invitation may be.  Once they are allowed admittance, it only a matter of time before the ‘leaven will leaven the whole lump’ and is revealed in our lives.   God will not fix what we have done through disobedience, no matter how sincere we pray or have others pray for us. 

“Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation.The spirit indeed is willing, but the flesh is weak.” Mark 14:38.

It is to our spiritual and physical well-being that we take the Lord’s warning seriously in believing that the devil goes about as a roaring lion seeking whom he may devour.  

We easily fall into an inactive faith where we believe God holds us in a spiritual bubble of good things, and all we need to do is believe.   Let us remind ourselves that we are soldiers for Christ and what this requires in this passage:

Finally, my brethren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of His might. Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.

 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace;  above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one.  And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;  praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints— Ephes 6:10-18

Daily Walk with Jesus

  • Submit to God; look (and pray – ask) for areas where we are not submitting to God
  • Resist the devil; be mindful of things like fear, anger, frustration – for they are avenues of temptation we may quickly succumb to out of habit
  • Watch and Pray; always
  • Put on our armor & be battle-ready, and fight daily!
Posted in The Word

The Love for the Truth

I learned of a person I knew to be one who is a faithful servant and elder and who has led many bible teachings and studies, some 40 years’ worth, who has only just recently read the bible cover to cover for the second time.  I was shocked but not surprised and no less deeply grieved to learn this.  In truth, this person represents most of those who profess to love the Lord Jesus and God the Father.  They may be those who have faithfully served all their lives in churches they attend and appear to be lovers of God – but this is not what qualifies our love for Him.  According to  John 14, Jesus tells us that only those who keep His Word are those who show their love for God.  We have to know the Word to keep it, and for far too many, this has become optional and where bible reading is liken to one coming to a buffet table.  When we do not love the truth, that is to enjoy reading the Bible in its entirety,  – we are at risk to be of this crowd: 

The coming of the lawless one is according to the working of Satan, with all power, signs, and lying wonders, and with all unrighteous deception among those who perish, because they did not receive the love of the truth, that they might be saved. And for this reason God will send them strong delusion, that they should believe the lie, that they all may be condemned who did not believe the truth but had pleasure in unrighteousness. 2 Thess 2:9-12 

Daily Walk with Jesus

The Bible is God’s letter to us, that reveals His heart.  Counting the times we read it through is not the point; instead, to read and reread because it is our joy and delight to do so.  In so doing, our love for Him will only grow, according to the love we have for His Word through our obedience to what it says.