Wednesday, September 24, 2008

What's in a name?

"And he will be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace." Isaiah 9:6

Recently when we were in bible study, we were discussing bad days. Every one has bad days. We all have trials and tribulations. Whether we are going through a deployment or an illness or just get up on the wrong side of the bed. We all have problems. Some seem far more severe than others. But no matter how small how troubles may seem, to us they are real and that's all that matters. So my Pastor's solution.....kinda like a count your blessings.....go through the book of Psalms. Find all the names for God. See how many different names he is called in that book alone! He had us just go through and find a few and read them out loud in the service. It was amazing to see how uplifting they were. The next time you are having a bad day, go through Psalms and find some names, write them can read through them again later!

Friday, September 19, 2008

No Griping

"Do all things without complaining and disputing." Philippians 2:14

Boy, that's some hard words to live up to! It's hard to get through a day without complaining! I complain daily it seems lately because my daughter won't do her homework without a fight. Or neither of my girls will clean their rooms. But is my complaining helping get the job done? Am I setting a good example for my kids? I want my daughter to quit griping about having to do her homework so I am responding to that by griping AT her about her griping! Where does that make sense? I am feeling more stressed and she is feeling more stressed. We end up in a fight and in bad moods. It ruins our whole night. Before I know it, the whole family is fighting. It's very true that a complaining spirit is like a cancer. It can undermine the spiritual and emotional health of not only one person, but also the entire group. If i just take the time to sit down with her and talk to her and help her with it, she will do the work. She doesn't need the help. She wants the one on one time with me. She just wants me to read the sentences to her. She knows the answers. She just needs some attention. As for the room cleaning. I know they both want me to help them. This is where we have a problem! I refuse! I didn't make the mess. I'm not cleaning it! I have done things to help them. It's not enough....they basically want to sit while i do it. Sorry darlings grow up i'm not your maid! Anyway....back to the point.....i'm still working at this No Griping rule. It's a really hard one. Some days all i want to do is gripe and whine. But i never feel any better. I usually feel worse as the day wears on. And on those days it does WEAR on! It feels like a weight on my shoulders. But if i practiced the adage "When you feel like griping, start counting your blessings", i'd be a whole lot happier. I have tried that on some bad days and it really does work. I had a wise woman once tell me to start what she called a Love Journal. Every day just simply write a note to God. Doesn't have to be much. Just a little something to tell him that you know He loves you today because......... It can be something as simple as Dear God, I know you love me today because when i woke up the sun was shining, my kids didn't fight before school, and i can hear the birds singing. It's amazing how good something so easy makes you feel. I'll admit there have been days i have even struggled to find something. I try not to put my husband and kids in there a lot. Although i certainly do know by looking at them that God loves me. The biggest thing to remember in all of this though seriously is that everything we do, we are doing for the glory of God. Whether it is our daily job, homework, raising our kids, cleaning our house (even the toilets), going to church, relating to our spouses, EVERYTHING we is all for the glory of God. What's to gripe about?

Monday, September 15, 2008

Learning to Walk By Faith

If you ever want to advance in the kingdom of God you must learn to live by faith. Hebrews 11:6 tells us, "without faith it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to Him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him."

When we desire to walk in alignment with God's word, oftentimes it stretches us beyond our comfort zone; it messes with our feelings of security. If you ask many Christians who moved out in faith, they will tell you that being obedient to God didn't make much sense to their natural minds.

If we review several incidents in scripture, we find that Jesus told his disciples to lower their fishing nets again after a whole day of catching nothing, he told them to distribute several fish and loaves of bread to 5000 hungry people, he told a wedding party to fill barrels with water so that he could turn them into wine, and he caught a fish that had money in its mouth to pay taxes. These all took acts of extreme faith.

I remember many years ago when I was hurting financially. I had actually run out of money but I was wholeheartedly serving the Lord. This particular Sunday I actually became a little angry with God. I went into my room, closed the door, and started challenging God. I reminded him of what his Word said, that He promised to meet my needs and that the righteous weren't suppose to be begging for food. I told him that I was keeping my end of the bargain by serving Him the best way I knew how, so why was I in this situation. Well what happened next blew my mind. I opened by dresser drawer to pull out a blouse for church and underneath the blouse was six twenty dollar bills. I know you may be thinking that I just forgot they were there, but that's not it. I went into that drawer everyday and if the money had been there, I would have seen it. I believe it was my faith and standing on God's promises that caused this financial miracle.

In order to grow in our Christian walk, God challenges us to take steps that may be uncomfortable. Or, if we are praying and believing God to move in a particular area, He may ask us to do something that seems completely unrelated. Sometimes we wait and wait for God to move, but He's waiting for us to move first. It wasn't until the children of Israel put their first foot in the water that the sea began to part. It wasn't until Moses hit the rock that the water came gushing out. It wasn't until they entered the promise land that God defeated their giants. Our acts of faith motion the hand of God.

Study the promises of God and incorporate them into your life. Because God said it, it's already true, it's a spiritual law that cannot return void. That means if you apply it, it must come true, just like a tossed ball must come down. If you are not speaking and applying God's promises to your life by faith, you are missing out on a whole lot of rewards.

There is power in the name of Jesus. It is the name that is above every name. In the name of Jesus we can heal the sick, cast out demons, and take in deadly substances without being harmed. Jesus said that if we have the faith of only a mustard seed, we could move mountains in our life. God wants us to trust him and believe him at his word. In Malachi, he told us to test him.

Sometimes we confuse having faith with "having faith in God." In other words, when we are believing for a certain outcome, God wants our faith to me in Him to "work all things out for our highest good and not just faith itself.

Speaking in the authority of the name of Jesus and with just a little bit of persistent faith, just think what God can do you your life? If this is added to abiding with Christ as branches abide with the vine, Jesus said we can ask for whatever we want, and God is obligated to do it. God knows that when we are in alignment with Him, we will be asking for the right stuff. With faith and patient, we inherit the promise. That's why I said persistent faith.

What has God put on your heart? What desires remain unmanifested in your life? What dream have you given up on? Don't be like the rich young ruler who walked away sad because he couldn't part with his material goods? His lack of faith in God's promises and faithfulness caused him to miss out on greater rewards than he could have imagined. What might you be holding onto that is interfering with God's blessings and promises pouring into your life? Did God say he would do exceedingly abundantly above what we could ask for, imagine, or think? Yes, but it requires faith in Him even when we can't see the way. It may require sacrifice now for blessings later. You can rest assured because God gives us a faith clause in Matthew 19:29, "And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or children or farms for My name's sake, will receive many times as much, and will inherit eternal life.

During your prayer time, ask God what areas in your life are lacking in faith. Do some reflecting over past decisions to see if you took the security route instead of the faith route. This probably caused you some inner conflict or sadness. Spend some time in silence and meditating on the Lord to see if God is guiding you down a new and different path. Make a commitment to walk in faith, apply God's promises to your life, and use the name of Jesus to overcome your mountains. Integrate your faith with patience and persistence. The Bible tells us to speak those things as if they already happened. See your circumstances, spouse, children, business, boss, etc., the way you want them to be, not the way they currently exist. Speak God's powerful and life changing words into the mix. Walk by faith and not by sight. Begin today.

Rhonda Jones is the author of 23 Christian meditation and affirmation Cds. Visit her award-winning website at Sign-up for her Free Spiritual Growth Eseries, 18 Weeks to More Peace, Joy, and Intimacy with God. Copyright Serenity Enterprises.

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