Latest Entries »

God’s Plan for Your Life

For a while now I have been overwhelmed with the purpose each and every one of us has in this world. We each have a story that only The Lord knows the ending too. I heard a preacher once say there will be a lot of good people that go to hell and a lot of bad people that go to heaven. This immediately rang off in my spirit, and yes you did read that right. The fact is that it doesn’t matter how you start in this world, it only matters how you finish, and whom you live your life for. The Word tells us that our journey is about winning the race (I Corinthians 9:24-27), but we all don’t start this race running to win. If you are anything like me you’re totally oblivious to the race to begin with. I was too focused on what I thought was the shiny and shimmery things around me to even acknowledge the fact that I am running a race. I was totally lost in the world, and what I thought was shiny and shimmery things were actually bondage and strongholds of sin. They were what my pastor would call “the beautiful side of evil”. It looks beautiful, it looks pleasurable, it looks fun, it looks exciting, and it looks like it would be pleasant to do or try, yet in reality it is just sin; plain and simple. In reality it is like the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that so easily deceived Adam and Eve. It looked good, but man did it pack a punch. Don’t ever be so wise in your own eyes to think this same concept cannot befall you (Proverbs 3:7).

When that preacher said that a lot of good people go to hell, and a lot of “bad people” go to heaven he really hit it right on. The Word actually confirms this. I mean Moses killed a guy and look how God used him. Paul beat and murdered tons of Christians, but he went on to write the majority of the New Testament. David lusted and slept with another mans wife before killing him, yet he still was a chosen King of Israel. And through his lineage came our Lord and savior. If God used them how much more could He use us? These are also just a few stories that represent the human factor of great men of God. These men would be considered “bad men”. But God changed and worked on these men just as He does to you and I. God needs a willing vessel, a broken spirit and a contrite heart to do so. On the other side, there are many people who give to charities, who love one another, who have never murdered anyone, who will never cheat on their spouse, they may even go to church and tithe, yet still end up going to hell. It doesn’t matter how you start the race, it matters how you finish the race. The important thing is to cast off your sin, and start running with endurance the race that is set before you (Hebrews 12:1). Repent of your sins, and run to God. As soon as we acknowledge this fact, forget who we were, and look forward, then we can begin to fulfill God’s purpose and plan for our life. God will not work through us until we realize how lost and broken we are without Him.

Never be too naïve to think that your attendance in church makes you a valid candidate to walk through the pearly gates and on the streets of gold. That is not enough. Make The Lord the object of your worship. Say no to what your body and flesh wants, and say yes to the Spirit (Galatians 5:16-18). Say yes to The Lord.  The Word is pretty clear that the works of the flesh will not get you into heaven. The works of flesh, which are sexual immorality, impurity, sensuality, idolatry, sorcery, enmity, strife, jealousy, fits of anger, rivalries, dissensions, divisions, envy, drunkenness, orgies, and things like these. Whereas the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:19-23).

To get back to my point in my first sentence we all have a purpose in this world, but we have to first fix our lives so that we can fulfill that purpose. We must surrender every issue we have to God. We must learn to let things go. What else do we need than to know the creator of the entire universe protects us and holds us in the palm of His hands (Isaiah 49:16)? This alone should give us peace. We all face personal attacks on a daily basis, but our struggles must be left at the foot of the cross. These are just distractions. Our Lord will fight our battles for us (Exodus 14:14). We must trust in Him, and learn to let His will be done in our life (Proverbs 3:5-6). By submitting to God we can let His will be done through us.

This is our purpose in life. We were created to be in a covenant with our Lord, and to worship Him. We need to get our minds off of ourselves, and off of the world, and start asking the important questions like: What does God want out of us? What can we do to help reach the lost? What can we do to help grow the Kingdom of God? What can we do to edify and uplift our brother and sisters? That is my burden. How can I fulfill the will of The Lord in my life? As soon as we start putting God first in our life rather than all the things around us, then I guarantee things will start falling into place the way that they should. When we start trusting in Him, living for Him, serving Him, and communicating with Him then we can start fulfilling His will in our life. Forget the things of your past. Don’t let those things bog you down. Look at Moses’ testimony. Look at David’s testimony. You are never too bad off to not be used by The Lord. Run the good race with the finish line as your goal. Commit your way to The Lord and you can begin to fulfill His purpose in your life (Psalms 37:1-6).

-Andrew

 

Advertisements

Living the Christian Life

“And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God.”  Romans 12:2

“Therefore put to death your members which are on the earth: fornication, uncleanness, passion, evil desire, and covetousness, which is idolatry. Because of these things the wrath of God is coming upon the sons of disobedience, in which you yourselves once walked when you lived in them. But now you yourselves are to put off all these: anger, wrath, malice, blasphemy, filthy language out of your mouth. Do not lie to one another, since you have put off the old man with his deeds, and have put on the new man who is renewed in knowledge according to the image of Him who created him”   Colossians 3: 5-10

“Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord’ shall enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father in heaven. Many will say, ‘Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in Your name, cast out demons in Your name, and done many wonders in Your name?’ And then I will declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from Me, you who practice lawlessness?’” Matthew 7: 21-23

“But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves. For if anyone is a hearer of the word and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror; for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. But he who looks into the perfect law of liberty and continues in it, and is not a forgetful hearer but a doer of the work, this one will be blessed in what he does. If anyone among you thinks he is religious, and does not bridle his tongue but deceives his own heart, this one’s religion is useless. Pure and undefiled religion before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their trouble, and to keep oneself unspotted from the world.”   James 1:22-27

There are so many people in this world that say, “I am a Christian, and I believe there is a God.” But do many of these people really understand what it takes to be a true Christian? It takes so much more than just believing that there is a God; even the devil and his demons believe in God. I use to be one of those “Christians”, I always stated that I was a Christian, but I did not live and understand the Christian life. Once I started going back to church and my love started growing for God, I started to crave a closer relationship with Jesus. I realized that in order to have that closeness with Jesus Christ you have to live “Christ Like” and you have to use the Bible as our “Instruction Manual for Life.” Jesus came to die on the cross for our sins, but he also came to earth to leave us an example of how we should live, in hopes that we all would follow in his footsteps. (1 Peter 2:21)

Once you truly become saved, your life begins to change. You realize that the music you listen to and the TV shows you watch are not acceptable anymore. You change the way you talk, and the way that you treat people. You begin to care more about others, and their salvation. You may even begin to drop friends that do not understand this great change in your life, and that is ok. They are not truly your friend if they do not stick around and are happy for you. You have to live a life where the unbelievers look at you and say, “Wow. I want what they have!” You must show how great and wonderful it is to have the glorious, perfect God on our side. You also must produce good fruit, which is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. (Galatians 5:22-23) Jesus has unconditional love for us all, and no matter what He is always there for us. This means since Jesus is our example we should treat others just as Jesus treats others, and yes that means even our enemies. As the bible says in Luke 6: 27-28 and 35-36 “But I say to you who hear: Love your enemies, do good to those who hate you, bless those who curse you, and pray for those who spitefully use you. But love your enemies, do good, and lend, hoping for nothing in return; and your reward will be great, and you will be sons of the Most High. For He is kind to the unthankful and evil. Therefore be merciful, just as your Father is also merciful.”

Reading the Bible is very important in your Christian walk, and God wrote through man just for us. “Your word is a lamp to my feet And a light to my path.”  Psalms 119:105. The Bible is our study guide for how we should live our life, and how to have a closer relationship with God. The Bible references everything you would need in life, such as marriage, parenting, being successful, how to treat others, trusting in The Lord, etc. The Bible has no error, and every word is true. But you can’t just read the Bible and not live it; you have to be a hearer and a doer!! (James 1:22-27, see above) So next time you are reaching for a book to help you with your troubles, grab the Bible instead because it is guaranteed to change your life. Prayer is also very important in our spiritual walk with God. Praying is our communication to The Lord, and it is an opportunity to thank Him, praise Him, and ask Him. Reading the Bible and prayer is the way to get to know God, and for Him to speak to you and guide you. You need daily bread; otherwise the devil will take that opportunity to attack you when you are weak. One way to be fed the word of God, and to get other spiritual inputs of the Bible, is to go to church and fellowship. Even though you may sit at home and read the Bible on your own, sometimes it helps to hear someone else’s perspective on scripture. There has been many times I may take a scripture one way, and then hear someone else’s input and I think “Why didn’t I think of that….it makes perfect sense?!!” Also church helps because a lot of times it gives God the opportunity to talk to you. There have been many times that the pastor has said something, and the Holy Spirit just cries out within me, and I knew that I was meant to receive that and I needed that. God uses people often to speak to you in order to help you; God sent someone to help me receive the baptism in the Holy Ghost, because He knew I needed the words of encouragement at that time. God knows what you need and when you need it, and it is absolutely amazing how God works!!

One of my favorite parables Jesus talked about in the Bible is Matthew 13:3-23, which he talks about a sower sowing, and some of the seed sowed feel by the wayside; and the birds came and devoured them. Some fell on stony places, where they did not have much earth; and they immediately sprang up because they had no depth of earth. But when the sun was up they were scorched, and because they had no root they withered away. And some fell among thorns, and the thorns sprang up and choked them. But others fell on good ground and yielded a crop: some a hundred, some sixty, some thirty fold. Then Jesus explained this parable as: When anyone hears the word of the kingdom, and does not understand it, then the wicked one comes and snatches away what was sown in his heart. This is he who received seed by the wayside. But he who received the seed on stony places, this is he who hears the word and immediately receives it with joy; yet he has no root in himself, but endures only for a while. For when tribulation or persecution arises because of the word, immediately he stumbles. Now he who received seed among the thorns is he who hears the word, and the cares of this world and the deceitfulness of riches choke the word, and he becomes unfruitful. But he who received seed on the good ground is he who hears the word and understands it, who indeed bears fruit and produces. Jesus explains here the different ways that people receive the gospel; let us all be the good soil that the seeds fall upon.

In conclusion, be Christ Like and be the one to lift people up. Treat people the way you want to be treated. We only have one life to live, and God sees everything and takes note of it. There will be great rewards in heaven for people that do good things in the name of Jesus Christ. Don’t you want to make your Father happy?? He will bless those that have trust, faith, and who long for that special relationship with Him. He will be there in times of trouble; He will mend a broken marriage; He will heal your depression and sickness; He loves you more than anyone in this world! All that He longs for is to hear your voice call out His name, and He will happily be there to wipe your tears away. When there is no one else to go to, all you have to do is call to Him and He will hear your cries. He is such a merciful God; no matter what you have done or been through all you have to do is ask for forgiveness and mean with all your heart and he forgives. Your chains will be broken, and you will be set free, just leave your burdens at the Cross. Isn’t it amazing??! That Jesus would come to earth as a human, just to die on the cross for ALL of OUR sins, so that we could have the opportunity to spend eternity in heaven with Him. God gives YOU the choice to choose….What is it going to be?? Spend eternity in heaven with our loving God, or spend eternity in lake of fire with the devil???? What are you waiting for? Get on your knees and pray now!! God is waiting for you…..

-Brandy

This Means War

A soldier never goes into battle naked. If he/she does then they’re destined to die. You can’t expect to protect yourself when you are being shot at with absolutely no cover or protection. Can you imagine being on a battlefield stark naked? Yet you look around and see your comrades decked out in full armor holding their weapon ready for battle. To survive a battle you must at least have a helmet, a weapon, and a shield (or armor). This armor will provide defense and will protect you from the enemy’s attacks. This image can be transferred to the Christian walk. The world is nothing but a large image of a battlefield. There are spiritual wars going on everywhere, which most of us are oblivious to. The setting for this battlefield is somewhat different then how you might picture a Civil War battle. This setting for this battlefield is everywhere in life, and the enemy trying to kill you is the enemy of God: the adversary, or the devil. This is called spiritual warfare. For us Christians do not wrestle with flesh and blood, instead we wrestle against evil rulers of the darkness of this age. Therefore, we must be equipped with the full armor of God. This includes the first important item, the helmet of salvation. For without salvation you are unprotected and naked. Next you must have the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, and is sharper than any two-edged sword (Hebrews 4:12). Finally, you must take hold of the shield of faith, which will protect you from the fiery darts of the wicked one. These are just a few pieces of the armor however; you cannot forget the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, and the shoes of peace (Ephesians 6:12-18). All of these are essential to be properly clothed for battle, and ready to walk the Christian walk.

If the devil is not attacking you then you should worry. Why would the devil attack those that are of no threat to him? If you are on the highway to hell, then the devil has you right where he wants you. But if you are a Christian you will be aware of his attacks. If he is attacking you, then you are doing something right. Take comfort in this. But do not let any cracks get into your armor, or he will effectively attack you.

Ephesians 6:17 says, “take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God…” We know from John 1:1 & v14 that “the Word was with God, and the Word was God” and “the Word became flesh and dwelt among us”. By soaking ourselves in the Word of God, and seeking Jesus who is the Word, then we can help counterattack the enemy’s fiery darts with the promises of God’s word. The promises of God are all throughout the Bible, and God knows only truth (John 17:17). The promises of God are yes, and amen (II Corinthians 1:20). If you stand on the frontline naked, you stand no chance at surviving. If you face this world without Christ, then your end will be death. But if you face this world with Christ, then your end will be life (Romans 6:23). We in ourselves stand no chance for we need a righteous warrior who is the King of Kings and the Lord of Lords. We are no match for the devil by ourselves. He is and will forever be our fortress, our refuge, and our warrior (Psalms 91).

This battle has been going on for ages, and will not stop until every knee bows to the one Lord (Romans 14:11). Satan waged war on God when he was an angel (Revelation 12:7-9), and we have been the pawns of that war ever since. But God’s love will eventually make the enemy bow down before our Lord. In the meantime the enemy will use us as an attack to our Father. It is not God’s desire that any should perish (II Peter 3:9). It hurts our God when we reject him, and turn to idols instead, but He gives us the choice to make. Our God is jealous and wants our undivided attention (Deuteronomy 6:13-15). Satan loves using the world, lusts of the flesh, and idols to distract us and take us away from God and His love. We are the enemy’s weapons against our Lord. God loves us so much that He would rather die for us than live without us. When we reject Him, the devil has what he wants. He wants people to turn and reject Jesus Christ. You don’t have to physically say “I reject Jesus Christ” to literally reject Him. Not serving Him, accepting Him as Lord, worshiping Him, and having the Lord sit on the throne of your heart is enough to reject Christ. However, when we accept Jesus as our Lord and savior, then this means war to the enemy. We must take up the whole armor of God (Ephesians 6:12-19) lest we will be devoured by the devil (I Peter 5:8). The devil loves to come after God’s children (Job 1:7-12). But God has given us what we need to win the battle; His son, Jesus Christ. We must accept Him, have faith in Him, and receive this blessed hope. Blessed are they that believe and have faith (John 20:29).

The Christian journey will not be easy; in fact it will be hard. If the world rejected Jesus, then so will it reject us (John 15:18). But if we suffer in this world as He did, then we shall reign with Him in Heaven (II Timothy 2:12). We must continue to run this race. For it doesn’t matter if we win the race as it is not about getting first place and outshining your brothers and sisters. In this race it is just all about finishing the right way (I Corinthians 9:24-27; Hebrews 12:1-29).

 I will end in saying be sober minded and vigilant to the faith, and be on fire for Jesus showing the enemy where your heart belongs. Your heart can only belong in one of two places: bondage or the world (that is sin), or the freedom that is found in accepting Christ as Lord. I constantly pray to have the spirit Jeremiah the prophet had where “God’s word was in his heart like a burning fire, shut up in his bones” (Jeremiah 20:9). God is looking for those that are on fire, and He is not interested in the lukewarm (Revelation 3:16), or carnal Christian, that just attend church on Sunday and still live in sin. We must die to self and live by the Spirit (Galatians 5:25). Let’s remain clothed in the full armor so we can face the adversary with the sword of the spirit, the shield of faith, and possess a heart that is on fire for the Lord.

-Andrew

The Importance of Prayer

Romans 8: 26-27, “Like the Spirit also helps in our weaknesses. For we do not know what we should pray for as we ought, but the Spirit Himself makes an intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. Now He who searches the hearts knows what the mind of the Spirit is, because He makes intercession for the saints according to the will of God.”

Matthew 18: 19-20, “Again I say to you that if two of you agree on earth concerning anything that they ask, it will be done for them by My Father in heaven. For where two or three are gathered in My name, I am there in the midst of them.”

I know for a lot of people it is very hard to find the time in the day to sit down and pray. However if you could make the time to talk with God, then you will begin to see your life transform. Our God is a jealous God, and it hurts Him for us not to take the time to sit and talk with Him. He is our Father, friend, comforter, healer, provider, and so much more. God is the same yesterday, today, and tomorrow. He didn’t just perform miracles in the Bible days…..He continues to do that even today. We just need to have more faith, and give Him more time out of our “busy” days.

Praying fights off the devil….Once we accept Jesus in our lives we are an enemy of the devil. The devil watches and studies over us to determine our greatest weaknesses, so that he may use them against us. But we have the great, almighty God on our side, and we can do anything in Christ. In order for us to be prepared for the devil’s attacks we need to pray and put on the full armor of God. Ephesians 6: 13-19 says “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 supplication in the Spirit, being watchful to this end with all perseverance and supplication for all the saints.” The better that we know the Word of God the easier it will be to spot the tricks of the devil. When we pray and study the word of God, whenever we are tempted by the devil we will be able to recognize that it is an attack from the devil, and act upon it with scripture. Pray and stay alert that you are able to discern those evil attacks, and rebuke the devil in the name of Jesus Christ!!

Praying allows us to grow spiritually and allows us to become closer to God….one of the things that God craves the most is to have a strong and loving relationship with YOU! Make time just to praise God, and thank Him for all He has done for you. Like I said earlier God is a jealous God and He wants to know how much you love Him and appreciate everything that He has done for you. One of the ways to grow spiritually is to pray for the spiritual gifts. 1 Corinthians 12: 8-11 says “for to one is given the word of wisdom through the Spirit, to another the word of knowledge through the same Spirit, to another faith by the same Spirit, to another gifts of healings by the same Spirit, to another the workings of miracles, to another prophecy, to another discerning of the Spirits, to another different kinds of tongues. But one and the same Spirit works all these things, distributing to each one individually as He wills.” Romans 8: 26-27 (noted above) shows that the gift of speaking in other tongues as the Spirit gives the utterance allows us to speak to God using our special prayer language. When we are not sure how or what to say in our prayers the Spirit intercedes for us and the Spirit takes over in our prayer to God, and God knows exactly what the Spirit is speaking. God knows what we need before we even pray for it…but He wants to test our faith, and wants us to ask for it. Matthew 7: 7-8, “Ask, and it will be given to you, seek, and you will find, knock, and it will be opened to you. For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened.”

In conclusion, take time every day to pray. Block off time (not just a minute prayer before bedtime) and find a quiet place, shut the door, and just have a one on one conversation with Him. Do you make time to watch your favorite TV show, exercise, eat, take a nap, etc??? What is more important than spending time with your heavenly Father? He is watching your every move, and taking notes on you, which He will reference when you stand before Him on judgment day. Don’t you want to please Him, and make Him proud? He will reward you for all the good deeds you do in His name. Once you begin to have a daily commitment to pray, and you start to feel God’s Spirit grow stronger within you, He starts talking with you more, and seeing His miracles before your own eyes will make you hunger for Him even more. Also when you have a bad day, just coming home and talking with Him makes me feel so much better, and I am confident it will benefit you the same way. I know that I have a God that loves me so much to go through all the pain and sufferings in order to die on the cross for my sins; so why do I worry about these petty things here on earth? For this is just my temporary home.  🙂

-Brandy

What’s Love Got To Do With It?

John 15:12 – This is my commandment, that ye love one another, as I have loved you.

Luke 10:27 – And he answered, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind, and your neighbor as yourself.”

Sometimes I wonder if we as believers really know what love is…

We all understand that Jesus died on the cross because He loved us. We all know the most famous scripture “for God so loved the world that…” But do we really understand the depth of His love? Do we, especially in today’s society, really understand the definition of His love? Has the word ‘love’ become so frequently used in our society that the sheer meaning of it has been diminished? Do we love Him, and His people the way we really should; the way He has asked us?

Today it seems we love TV shows, we love cars, and we love our hobbies. We love video games, we love Hollywood, we love singers, we love music, we love fashion, we love football, we love sports, we love things, and the list goes on (I will caveat here and pray for discernment that this so called love is not actually something much more evil and severe. Some might call it idolatry). Now I know we are aware of this as believers, and don’t get me wrong; I like football, and would even go so far as to throw the word love out for it. But the problem is not with loving something per se, or participating in any of the interests I mentioned above. God wants us to enjoy our life on earth. The problem is when that thing or object sits on the throne of our heart in lieu of our Lord. When we can spend 4 hours watching a football game, or playing a video game, but then turn around and only offer God a 30 minute sacrifice of prayer because we are “tired after work”, or because we have had “a hard day and all we want to do is relax in front of a TV”, then I would say its safe to say there is a problem with our relationship with God.

When we think about Israel’s deliverance from Egypt we can see how gracious and merciful God was to His people. His people rejoiced Him and thanked Him for their deliverance. However, it wasn’t long before they started questioning God and Moses. When Moses went up to Mount Sinai and was gone longer than expected the people of God requested Aaron, Moses’ brother, to make them a God to worship. Aaron took the people’s gold jewelry, burnt it, and made a golden calf. The people worshipped the golden calf, and thanked this man-made object for the deliverance out of Egypt (Exodus 32). Us believers typically chuckle at this story thinking how silly these people were for worshipping an object they themselves made. We have come a long way now, haven’t we? Idolatry was just written for the Old Testament. It is not applicable anymore, right? We don’t worship things anymore. False. This is just as applicable today as it was then, if not more so. We may not bow down and worship golden statues anymore; no, we have evolved. Now we just station all our living room furniture facing a man-made device that the family can sit down and stare at for hours at a time. But this is not idolatry, right? Think about it…

God wants us to want to spend time with Him. For God so LOVED the world that He gave His Son to die for our sins. He gave His only Son to die for you and me. Jesus Christ, the Son of God put on a flesh suit, stepped out of eternity into time and the world He created, and lived as a man who knew no sin. Yet He faced persecution, judgment, torture, and a slow and painful death for you and me. He even had to carry the cross He was nailed to. Can you imagine the ridicule? The suffering? This speaks wonders of His love for us. At any point, He could have ended it. At any point He could have shown the world who He was. He was mocked on the cross, and He asked God to forgive them for they knew not what they did. This is true love. He endured the cross, so that we might be free. He endured the cross because He loves us and because He knew this would be the only way. We now have life because of Christ. For He is the way, the truth, and the life. Thank you Jesus. Less of me, and more of Him is my prayer. Let not this world blind me of the love You have for us. Let not this world strip me and replace the love of God for the love of things. I pray that God will continue to unveil His love to me, so that I may in turn love Him more. This is my prayer for myself and for you as well.

-Andrew