Intimacy With God ~ The Desired Destination Part 2

Clouds 5
Paul was concerned because some of the “Church from Chloe’s household” had informed him that there were quarrels among them. Paul realized the need to address the conflict which hindered their spiritual growth. Listen closely to the rebuke, a call for repentance as well as exhortation at times he expresses. Paul’s sincere intent was to bring them closer to the Lord. The Church is supposed to cultivate a passion for living for the Lord! The Church was meant to stand for righteousness and be the light of the world. God uses whomever He pleases to fulfill the mission of His Church. According to the Word;”God has chosen the foolish things of the world to put to shame the wise, and God has chosen the weak things of the world to put to shame the things that are mighty; and the base things of the world and the things which are despised God has chosen, and the things which are not, to bring to nothing the things that are, that no flesh should glory in His presence.” I Corinthians 1; 27-29 Walking with the Lord is not a role to be played but a life to be lived! This is why Paul says “He who glories, let him glory in the Lord.” God is so worthy of all our praise! It is really by and through the power of His Holy Spirit we can attain a deeper ever growing level of intimacy that will enhance your personal walk with Him.

Due to the mindset of many of the Corinthians it was difficult to break the many strongholds. Carnality and spiritual immaturity permeated their atmosphere. Today as well during a service, although emotions and energy may be high it can still be void of spiritual depth. God really does know where we are in our walk with Him.Paul’s concerns have been recorded as a permanent record. In His second letter to the Church in Corinth he continues to relay his sincere concerns to the struggling congregation due to both internal and external problems. This is why Paul’s ongoing desire was for their spiritual growth. Spiritual warfare was all about him. As a rebuttal and deterrent Paul’s credibility was questioned. Yet, Paul did not allow this to sidetrack his assignment. We too must remain focused when spiritual warfare presents itself. God in His own time will bring everything to the light. The victory is in the praise!

Having intimacy in your relationship with the Lord is one of the most important intangible things that you could possibly possess. God knows our place within the body of His Church! This will help you to know that God is a God of all comforts. That nothing comes your way that He is not aware of. God can, and is truly the only one, “who comforts us in all of our troubles, so that we can comfort those who are in trouble, with the comfort we ourselves have been comforted by God….” II Corinthians 1:4. Paul’s writing includes significant teaching on a plethora of issues relating to sin and righteousness. Paul addresses the congregation by stating that he was called by the will of God. This in it self caused much resistance. In I Corinthians he dealt with the diversity of sexual sins and what happens when God’s plan for marriage and family are disobeyed see 7:1-40. He addressed the fact how proper worship flows from us by sincerely acknowledging God’s place in our life see 3:16-23. The pure significance of partaking in the Lord’s Supper see 11:17-34. Paul continues in significant detail a discussion on the effectiveness of exercising spiritual gifts as to when and how they should be properly exercised or not? Harmony and order were desired whenever they assembled. Christ really does deserve to always be the “Mainstay” of all our worship!

God has bestowed upon us the blessing of His Holy Spirit to abide within and to assist us in living a life pleasing in His sight. You must ask for this infilling presence daily. I encourage you to take some time to get to really know the Lord intimately. His Word has cleansing power. Repent of any and all sin before it ferments. Commence to really delve deeply into the meat of His Word. We can be sure and confident that God’s Word is infallible. Exercise your faith and entrust your future to the Lord. I declare, no matter what comes your way God will see you through! Christ birth, life, death and resurrection has taken away the veil. Nothing stands between you and God but you and any unconfessed sin. The Word of God is able to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

See Part 3

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Did You Grow Up in the Church? Part 3

Church Interior 1
Did You Grow Up in the Church? Part 3

There really is a difference between being in the Church and the Church being in you? When the Church is in you the Holy Spirit becomes the governor of your soul. You live in the world, you are to be a law abiding citizen but you realize it is in God you move and live and have your being. You are convicted when wrong. You do not desire to be right just for the sake of being right.

The Church is not just a place to go. For you it is your daily lifestyle to live to please God!

This is not some unrealistic, legalistic, rigid, mythical, unattainable, cultic way of being. You realize how vitally important it is to live your life before the Lord. You know without a doubt that God is your Heavenly Father. That the devil his imps and no one or nobody can do anything to pluck you out God’s hands. That you truly belong to God and Jesus is your Lord and Savior! You have been adopted into His family and you know that you know that you know without doubting you are His child! You know what His Word says about being double minded? Wait I must caution you! You must be aware that you will be thought of as strange and or self righteous by those who really do not know or understand you. They will even put you through their heart test. But, those who really know you know that you have been raised in the Church and the Church is in you. Go pluck some spiritual fruit and “pig out”. Especially try some of His good ole patience. Don’t go there; this not some egotistical, arrogant or prideful statement. (This was worth repeating in case you are only reading Part 3)

You see, there really is a difference when you are in the Church and the Church is in you. You know that you have been bought with a price. You know that before you were formed in your Mother’s womb God knew and knows who you are. You also know it is not because of anything you have or have not. It is because of who He is! You praise Him not only in the building; but you praise Him in your home, on your job or at your business in your car, in the midst of trials and persecution. Not just in mere lip service. You even know you have a right to a silent protest when necessary. You actually know and understand why others do not understand you. They have actually helped to strengthen your faith and trust in God. Especially when you know they have done everything possible to attempt to discourage you.

God is awesome! Standing for God does not mean resorting to carnality. Your confidence cannot be in you, are anything else. Yes, you can have confidence because you know God as your Father. You know that He knows you as His child. You know and He knows that you have spent some deep intimate time together in His presence. You know that He has set you free! You know that you have been raised in the church and the church is in you.

God really has a better way for His children. God is not a respecter of persons. It does not matter to Him if you are rich or poor, black, white, red, yellow, tan or brown. He already knows where you live, work, play or “hang out.” He even knows if you have been raised in the church and the church is not in you. He knows if you walk in the flesh or abide in His Spirit. If you truly invite Him into your heart today He will come in your life and make a real difference. As you begin to grasp His Word it will wash you and cleanse you from all unrighteousness. He will also teach you how to guard your heart.

There are many wolves among the sheep. Don’t fret God always takes care of His children even in the midst of tests and trials. There are also those who call evil good and good evil. God will and can protect you and keep you from the grasp of wickedness. You must learn to humbly submit to His direction. He will open your spiritual eyes so you can begin to understand. No drugs, nicotine or alcohol needed. You will not want to see things as they appear. You will desire to see clearly. Your conscious will become sensitive and you will have a deepened desire to do what is right in His sight rather than in the sight of man. Realize that Jesus came that we might have life and have it more abundantly.

God also said in the Book of John to “let not your heart be troubled.” The earth truly is the Lord’s. Truly He will take care of you. God already knows what is going on. Just begin to exercise patience. He will bring what happens in the dark to the light. Did you know you have as much time as you need to do the things that God would have you to do. Study the story of Gideon. He prevailed not because of how many he had to help him. The victory always belongs to God. It is not in the amount, how many are for you are against you. Nor in whoever rises up against you.

God will make it evident to you and those about you that it is only by His grace and mercy that you can truly be successful. Spiritual success is not in the numbers. God knows when you have been raised in His Church and His Church is in you. “He leads me in the Path of Righteousness for His Namesake. Yea though I walk through the Valley of the Shadow of Death I WILL fear NO evil. For THOU art with me. THY ROD & STAFF THEY COMFORT me…” Psalms 23 Grace, Joy, Love & Peace to you in Jesus Name! If you really want to be happier, Live Everyday: “To God be the Glory!”

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God wants us to become complete in Him Part 2

Beauriful Chapel

God wants us to become complete in Him
Part 2

God is omnipresent therefore everywhere we are God is there. As believers our body is a temple where God’s Holy Spirit resides once we accept Jesus Christ into our hearts as Savior & Lord. His Word is Spiritual Food for our souls. There is miraculous cleansing power in the blood of Jesus! God wants us to daily draw near to HIM with sincere hearts. Here is how we begin to move toward spiritual wholeness.

When we are connected to the LORD He will help us become all that He wants us to be. In an ongoing growing intimate personal relationship with the Lord we can discover everything that we will ever need for life & living. God never intended for us to be dependent upon others for our security and significance. He only wants us to be dependent upon Him. This is why we need to disconnect from the world and connect and stay plugged into the Lord! This is also why He encourages us to “PRAY without ceasing.” This keeps us focused upon HIM! God is omniscient. God is the source of everything that is genuinely good. If we all were ALL dependent upon Him this world would be a much better place to live. HIS CHURCH, our marriages, our families, our homes, neighborhoods, cities, towns, states, countries and the world at large would all be a lot happier and healthier.

God wants to continuously open our spiritual eyes and provide abundant living in every area of our lives. He wants the Fruit of His Spirit to manifest and multiply within our daily lives. When we are connected to the Lord we are even more cognizant of the world and what is happening all around us, yet we worry less as we learn to trust God more. Our discernment is sharper, our inner peace enhanced and we also become more spiritually enlightened.

Life on earth is designed as a continuous experience of lessons that can help us to grow spiritually. We can elect to grow closer to God or we can grow further away from Him. Anything that is not growing is dead! I was taught by a wise loving mother that, “We are forever becoming, and we never arrive.” This simply means that there is always something to learn as long as the Lord has us on this side of Heaven. We never get to the place that we do not need the Lord! God is the ultimate Father and He can feel as well as fill the void, resolve any despair as well as correct and heal any dysfunction that persists. God loves us and wants what is best for each of us.

GOD allowed His Son Jesus Christ to die in our place. The past, present & future sins of the world were placed upon Christ on the cross. “For He hath made Him to be sin for us, who knew NO sin; that we might be made the righteousness of GOD in Him!” 2 Corinthians 5. He overcame sin in the flesh for us and has given us His Holy Spirit to help us live better God centered lives. Jesus Christ died so that we could become FREE from habitual sin! As we grow in His grace, understanding, knowledge & wisdom and apply His principles to our own lives we should begin to sin less. We are to be ambassadors for Jesus Christ! After we complete the course of life we who are believers return to Him to live through eternity. Each day we are to live on earth as though our Lord was going to return!

“For God so loved the world, that He gave his only Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but to SAVE the world though HIM!” John 3 Everyday: “To GOD Be The GLORY!”

GOD designed us to be controlled from the inside out by HIS HOLY SPIRIT! This is why when we accept JESUS CHRIST as SAVIOR & LORD HIS COMFORTER comes to abide and live within us! HE is our Internal Spiritual Teacher that can lead us to ALL TRUTH! HIS WORD does not say; lead us to some of the TRUTH! This is why: “The true worshipers worship the LORD in SPIRIT & in TRUTH!” We should have;”A GREAT HALLLELLLUJAH” time whenever we worship & praise HIM knowing all that the LORD has done for us. It is our choice to live each day to please GOD or live to be accepted by others and conform to the ways of this world. “The Word is near you; it is in your mouth and in your heart, that is the Word of Faith we are proclaiming; that if you confess with your mouth that “JESUS IS LORD!” and believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead, you WILL be SAVED. For it is with your heart that you believe and are justified, and it is with your mouth that you confess and are saved. As the Scripture says; “Anyone who God trusts in Him will never be put to shame” Romans 10

You do not ever have to be ashamed once you truly realize the anointing cleansing POWER of HIS HOLY SPIRIT when you are walking in the LIGHT of HIS WORD! Don’t ever let anyone make you doubt GOD’S OMNIPOTENT POWER!

See Part 3

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Spending Time With God

Spending time with God is one of the most important things you can do. If you read the Scriptures you will find that even Jesus often took time alone to spend with the FATHER! Spending time with God will help you how to respond properly or not to respond at all to others. Spending time with Him yields patience and understanding. The wonderful thing about God is that He has provided so many ways to continually enhance our personal relationship with Him. He has given us His Holy Spirit to lead and guide us to all truth! He has given us His Holy Word to teach us and equip us to do whatever He has planned for our lives. He has even provided spiritual armor to protect us from evil. To even tell us when we are right or wrong! His Word also gives us directions as to what not to do! His Word teaches us how and when to stand in the midst of spiritual warfare! The scripture tell us “trust in the Lord will all thine heart and lean not to your own understanding, in all thy ways acknowledge Him and He will direct our paths.” He has given us His precious Son Jesus, who will be your personal Savior once you truly invite Him into your heart. It is in Him you will always find victory!

The book of Galatians clearly tells us; “Walk in the Spirit, and you shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh. For the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh, and these are contrary to one another, so that you do not do the things that you wish.” Christ lived a sinless life! Christ became flesh! He conquered sin in the flesh so He could be our example! He died for us! He did not die for us to continue to make excuses for our shortcomings. When we accept Him as Lord and Savior we are able to rely on Him to “save us from the power of sin in our life”. A truly dedicated life to God will result in an increased ability to exercise self-control! Spending time with God will help you to discern between good and evil. To be as “wise as a serpent and as harmless as a dove!” God is aware of everything. He is omniscient! It does not matter how things appear or seem. Neither does it matter when everyone else pretends everything is okay when something is terribly wrong! God knows how things really are! In the midst of a declining world you can still enjoy a wholesome clean life. Spending time with God will also teach and direct you how to be a good steward of the things and people He entrusts to your care! His Word also tells us “He will supply all of your needs according to His riches in Christ Jesus! God is a Spirit of TRUTH!

Paul also warns us of false teachings. Spending time with God will help you recognize those who pervert the Gospel of Christ! He even goes so far to tell us that they use it for a license of licentiousness. Which merely means to excuse their loose behavior? He tells us to not receive the message regardless of the person or position. I encourage you to study God’s Word. Listen closely when some one says they have a message from God. Allow the Holy Spirit to sift its contents and validate its Truth. Just ask yourself how often did Jesus talk about how many horses or chariots someone had? How many suits of clothing did Joseph, Priscilla and Aquilla or anyone else for that matter possess? How much money it took to feed the multitudes? I don’t think that Jesus told the woman at the well that He “loved her and all of her faults”. He told her “TO GO AND SIN NO MORE!” Furthermore are you spiritually enriched by the message? Have you been provoked to good works or spiritual growth? Or do you just continue to feel content in disobedience?

Jesus said “If you abide in My Word, you are my disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and truth shall make you free.” Jesus also tells us in His Word; “whoever commits sin is a slave to sin. And a slave does not abide in the house forever, but a son abides forever. Therefore if the Son makes you free you shall be free indeed.” The point that I am trying to make is Christ died to make us free! Spending time with God will give you freedom! We must commence embracing a Christ centered life! Christ took back the power the enemy stole! God’s Word really is “a lamp unto our feet and a light unto out path.” Paul goes further to say “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let Him be accursed.” There is much spiritual warfare about us! This is really not a game! We are living in the perilous times that the bible talks about! Please do not settle for a life that pleases man. Commence to really put God first in your life! Man’s approval is not necessary to accomplish God’s will in your life. He will and can make your path straight! God is the source of everything you possibly need to accomplish whatever He has for you to do.

Spending time with God will yield much peace. It will also consecrate your heart and your conscious! God will teach you how to guard your heart! You see God is a Spirit of Truth! I am thankful for His presence in my life! The devil is the father of lies! Deception and trickery are not a part of God’s fruit. Many are greatly deceived. I encourage you to spend some time reading Exodus. It is fear-provoking to know how much time they spent consecrating themselves for worship. They had reverence and deep respect for God. Worshipping God was sacred! Today it is not necessary for many. Many see worship as a time for them to “stand up for their gifts.” In times past God’s presence was earnestly welcomed. God is all knowing! God is truly Holy! God said that the true worshippers “worship Him in Spirit and in TRUTH!” I thank Him that I can freely lift my hands to thank and praise Him for the freedom He has given me.

Spending time with God will teach you how to properly navigate through this world of sin! Spending time with Jesus allows you to be calm in the midst of spiritual warfare. Jesus quite often did not respond to His accusers! You see many times just enough detail was omitted to prohibit the real truth from coming out. They sought to discredit His sincerity. More often than not a one sided story was and is embraced as truth! God is Light in Him is no darkness. “Perfect Love casts out all fear!” Just know it is more important what God knows rather than what others think! We must stand for the TRUTH! Jude tells us to contend for the faith! We must measure what is being taught against the Word of God. There are many false teachers who are misleading those who really need to hear the Gospel! He tells us “ these are grumblers, complainers, walking according to their own lusts, and they mouth great swelling words, flattering people to gain advantage. But you beloved remember the words which were spoken before the apostles of our Lord Jesus Christ; how they told you that their would be mockers in the last time who would walk according to their own ungodly lusts. These are sensual persons who cause division, not having the Spirit.” Jude ends telling us “Now to Him who is able to keep you from stumbling, and to present you faultless before the presence of His glory with exceeding JOY!”

It is very easy to become attached to a spiritual leader. When one has helped you it is natural to feel loyalty. Especially when you have confided in them. Paul warns us against having such pride in our favorite leaders that causes divisions in the church. The Corinthian Church for an example was a very carnal church. It continually indulged in the immorality that was practiced culturally. The culture of that day embraced a temple of prostitution. The Corinthians needed specific instructions because of their immoral standards. Paul tells us “the body is not meant for sexual immorality but for the Lord, and the Lord for the body.” It was because of their carnality that Paul continuously warned them! It is spiritually dangerous to create an environment that embraces sin and labels it unconditional love. That really worships God in flesh and half truths!

Paul encourages us to imitate Christ because He himself spent time with God and walked closely with Him. I would like to encourage you to commit to spend at least 10 minutes of time alone with God each day! Just you and God with no distractions! Learn how to “ Be still and Know”. Start your personal devotion with prayer & Thanksgiving to give you the proper focus. Then just quietly discipline yourself to listen. To be still. Watch how someone or something tries to distract you. Please do not give up. (You see the enemy is so clever at distracting you.) Remember the idea is to exercise discipline. Increase your time gradually with God. This will also enhance your personal Bible Study time. I assure you any burden you might have will begin to lift. You see God really is a burden bearer. Honoring God by spending time with Him will give you direction. You cannot change anything that has happened but you can begin to really “walk in the light.” End your time Thanking Him for all He has done. Remember when you pray you must obey. To Love God is to obey Him! God’s Word is true!

We too must stand on the Word of God even when we are called anything but a child of God! Spending time with God and obeying His commandments will free you from sinful strongholds! I am thankful that God has provided us with many gifted men and women of God who are committed to spreading the true Gospel! They take seriously their responsibility to present Biblical Truth. A true spiritual leader is a representative of Christ. and has nothing to offer that God has not already given him or her! Loyalty should not cause strife, or slander. The truth can disable slander! God really is a Spirit of Truth! Our deepest loyalties should be to Christ and not to human agents! Those who spend more time debating the importance of church leadership than declaring Christ’s message don’t have Christ as their first priority. God’s Word clearly tells us “that we should not go beyond what is written. Spending time with God will cause you to attach yourself to God, rather than a spiritual leader. Commence to spend time with God “Trust in the Lord with all thine heart and lean not to thine own understanding in all thy ways acknowledge HIM and HE shall direct your path”. When you spend time with God you shall know the TRUTH, and the TRUTH shall make you free!

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Intimacy With God ~ The Desired Destination Part 1

Clouds 5
Intimacy With God –
The Desired Destination

Intimacy with God should be a desired destination. Intimately knowing God not only for what He has done; but for whom He truly is and what He will do makes all the difference in the world. It gives you a personal endearing relationship that is encompassed with spiritual depth. Intimacy really can be quite liberating. God knows what is beyond the surface. It is important to know this because it will help you to have a genuine reverential respect for His Word and a desire to walk in His ways. When He becomes the center of your life it gives your life purpose. It also gives your life balance. Psalms 145 says “Everyday I will bless You and Your name forever and ever. Great is the Lord, and greatly to be praised”You also realize that worship is not just something you attend. It is really how you live before Him each and everyday wherever you are.

Have you ever noticed right before you attend a “worship service” you can find a level of anxious banter; everyone in their little cluster groups chit chatting about some of everything? Once the service begins, it‘s as almost, as though all of that joy is hushed? A solemn subtle quietness is ushered in. Then its business as usual? I have often wondered if that same enthusiasm or vigor continued what a difference it would make in the overall tenor of the service. For some it’s really become just a social gathering. Is there anyone or anything more important than the Lord? Did you know that we do not go somewhere to experience His presence? There is absolutely no where you can go, nor is there nothing that He is not aware of. Perhaps if we reserved some of that enthusiasm for Him our “worship” would be different not only on Sunday but everyday. What if intimacy was the desired destination; how would that impact things differently?

The Word of God has a multiplicity of illustrations depicting the difference God’s presence can make. The city of Corinth was known for its depravity. The Church that was established in Corinth was surrounded by much carnality. True but sad some of the worst sins were found amongst the church members. It was on Paul’s second missionary journey that he further established the Church in Corinth. There was a worldly culture which was one of the most prevalent problems within the congregation. It was hard for a lot of the believers to depart from their old ways. This is one of the primary reasons why Paul wrote not only one but two epistles to the Church in Corinth. Paul’s intent was to correct some of their behavior. He desired that the members establish a close deeper personal and intimate relationship with the Lord. He knew that this would make all the difference in the world.

The scripture says “Eye has not seen, nor ear heard, nor have entered into the heart of man the things which God has prepared for those who love Him.” Many stop right here. But if you continue on you will find; “But God has revealed them to us through His Spirit. For the Spirit searches all things, Yes, the deep things of God…………..” God desires that we go deeper in His Word.It is here your understanding can be opened; here you will find intimacy. It is His Spirit He wants us to receive, not the spirit of the world; there is a huge difference. This is how you can know the things that “He has freely given us.” It is important to know what the works of the flesh are as well as the Fruit of His Spirit. God does not want any of us ignorant to His will nor His ways.

See Part 2

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How Important Is Discipline In Your Daily Life

How Important Is Discipline In Your Daily Life

Webster defines discipline as a training that corrects, molds or perfects the mental faculties or moral character. A control gained by enforcing obedience or order. Orderly or prescribed conduct or pattern of behavior. To discipline means to train or develop by instruction and exercise; especially in the area of self control.The development of discipline is essential to our overall personal growth and spiritual maturity.

 

One of the fruits of the spirit is self control. Due to Adam’s sin mankind has inherited a sin-based nature. The appetite to fulfill the desires of the eyes and the lusts of the flesh is quite often first and foremost. The appetite of each individual varies. Your desire could be overeating or under-eating, alcohol, drugs, immoral sexual behavior, lying, envy, idolatry, covetousness, etc. In order to overcome this proclivity towards sin one must continually learn to surrender their yearnings toward self-gratification. How can we accomplish this? To the believer deliverance from an undisciplined lifestyle is quite attainable. Paul tells us: “I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me.” Philippians 4:19. The key factor in that verse is the strength has to come from the LORD.

 

 

God is quite aware of our shortcomings. Our shortcomings are what alerts us to the fact we need something other than ourselves to overcome our human frailties. God has created us for the purpose of fellowship. We must continuously develop a life in accordance with the instructions He has left in His WORD. The first step to accept Jesus Christ as your personal Saviour. “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way the truth and the life: NO man cometh unto the FATHER but by me.” John 14:6. There is no other way to GOD.

 

 

Our perspective on life greatly affects how we deal with certain situations. Envision with me if you please a house. Everyday you would pass by this house. After a while you become very familiar with it’s exterior. You then begin to even make assumptions about the house. You eventually come to admire it for it’s surface beauty, but only from an exterior point of view. You’ve seen the front door day after day but you have never stopped and taken the time to knock at the door. You are aware of where the house is; you even think you have a general idea of what it’s like inside. But do you really?

Quite often we develop the same type of relationship with God. We know where His instructions for daily life are found. We have access to the Bible. But how often do we really devote time to actually seek His spiritual direction for our day to day living? We must go beyond the exterior and delve into the WORD and embrace His principles and apply them to our lives consistently. When we embrace His principles we embark upon a life of freedom. This freedom will free you from the appetites of the flesh and the clutches of the world.

When you develop an intimate relationship with Him He begins to fill that deep endless void THAT ONLY HE CAN FILL.The Christian life is not an unattainable idealistic lifestyle. When we begin to walk in the Spirit we can overcome the weaknesses of the flesh. Christians are to live lives that are dependent upon God. It is through this spiritual dependency the strongholds that satan has on your life will begin to dissipate. This spiritual walk includes a life of discipline. Remember it is through discipline we are able to harness and control the lusts of the flesh I mentioned earlier.

 

Christ lived, suffered, died and arose from the dead for a reason. He sacrificed His life to redeem us from the curse and endowment of Adam’s sin. It is by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit in our lives we can overcome and partake in the victorious life he has prepared for those that truly love Him. “Greater is He that is in you then he that is in the world.” The scripture is not just for memorization to impress others. It is an edible delicacy that will nourish your spirituality and quench your unquenchable thirst as you truly embrace and live out it’s intended principles.

 

We must seek and learn to discipline our life to His standards. We must begin to relinquish the desire for man’s approval and conditional acceptance. We can never please man. I must warn you! The closer you draw to GOD the less man will understand you. You will be persecuted and greatly misunderstood. Guess what? So was Jesus! He was maligned and accused of many things by those who should have known better. It was those who were thought to be spiritual that treated Him exceedingly wrong.

 

Man looks from the outside in; this is the opposite of God’s perspective. He looks from the inside out. He knows all about you and I.  Our innermost thoughts and desires are fully known by Him. The key to a peaceful and contented life filled with true JOY is available. “GOD is LIGHT, and in Him is no darkness at all. If we say that we have fellowship with Him, and walk in darkness (appetites of the flesh) we lie, and do not tell the truth. But if we walk in the light, as He is Light, we have fellowship one with another, and the BLOOD OF JESUS CHRIST HIS SON CLEANSETH US FROM ALL SIN.” How important is discipline?

 

It is very important!

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MARRIAGE: Caring Enough To Listen=Communication (Part I)


When God created marriage he intended for it to be beautiful. It was designed for companionship. Marriage was not meant to seem like a sentence. It was not meant to be full of on going drudgery. Nor was it meant to neither suffocate, smother, nor repress each others unique individuality. It was made so the realization of “two becoming one flesh” could be realized. It was meant to help mature and grow a man/woman in a husband/wife relationship. To learn how to love, submit, commit, respect, and learn together what it means to work through and out of difficulties as well as enjoy great experiences within the confines of a committed relationship. Having healthy good communication is an important component within a good marriage. I want to encourage you to make it a priority to learn how to effectively communicate to one another. To know where one another are, to consider each others opinions, to be objective and express your self freely. It is important to make a conscious effort to treat your partner with respect. This does not mean that you have to agree on everything. This communicates I care enough to take the time to really get to know you. Having each others best interest at heart is also important. You should also be able to express your concerns if you feel they may be making a wrong decision. When expressing yourself say “I feel” or “I think” in expressing your point of view. You also want to learn to admit when you are in error. No one is right all the time. Part of being a good spouse is saying and doing at times what no one else will. You both have a responsibility to fulfill your commitment to one another as well as to the Lord.

Marriage was really designed as a partnership to help you become all that you were meant to be. Many couples often live as strangers. Within the boundaries of marriage you should grow to be able to spiritually, mentally, emotionally and yes physically openly learn to express your deepest inner thoughts in a healthy way. It is important to really get to know this person you have committed to. Ask yourself do you honor God in your relationship? Is submission a part of your marriage? It is important to include and seek the Lord’s direction and trust Him to teach you how to build a healthy relationship. It is never too late to start if you have not already. Does your marriage include intimacy? God our Creator is a God of order. You should never get to the place where you think you do not need to consult the Lord.

God made the heavens and the earth which were spoken into existence through His Word. The Word became flesh and “dwelt among us”. The Word as revealed in the scriptures tells us He is Jesus Christ. (See John 1) After creating the man from the dust of the earth God took the man He had created and placed him in the garden to take care of it. The one thing that Adam did not have was a companion “a suitable helper.” All the animals that God made already had partners. No doubt that Adam was brilliantly intelligent. Adam personally named all the animals. God caused Adam to go into a deep sleep and from within Adam He took one of His rib bones and made him a woman. She was taken from within Adam to be with Him as his God given partner. Someone to share his life with. Adam named her Eve. Initially they were open and not ashamed. They were even physically naked. It was not until after they had disobeyed God that they actually realized they were naked. (See the rest of the story in Genesis)

We are all naked before God. He knows us from the inside out. God is Omniscient meaning all knowing. There is absolutely nothing He does not know. Think about it for a moment, does not our Creator/ Manufacturer know our intended purpose? So why is it we do not consult Him whenever a problem, situation or issue arises? You listen to everyone else? God did not intend for us to look to the world for a marriage model. This is one of the major reasons why nearly 60% of marriages don’t succeed. I have been observing marriage relational dynamics for many years. No two marriages are alike. We are all very different. But God’s principles must be included if you really want your relationship to succeed.

One of the biggest problems in marriage or any other relationship really is poor communication. To communicate means to convey a thought, idea or relay information clearly. To transport information so that it is satisfactorily received or understood. Listening is crucial; it is a necessary component when one desires to effectively communicate. Communication is both verbal and nonverbal. Good healthy communication manifests when you are able to openly connect with who ever you are trying to communicate to.

Many problems and issues arise, when the time is not taken to communicate directly to each other this only further compacts the situation. If you have not taken the time to develop intimate communication with your spouse now is the time to get started. How do I do this? Stop hiding behind issues and past hurts. Get over them. Stop hanging on to the things that you cannot change. This does not mean that you forget. It means that you no longer hold whatever has happened against them. You instead choose to become wiser from whatever has transpired. When past issues become current issues what do you do? You must deal with them. Don’t allow too much time to go by. Confrontation in marriage is important. Otherwise the issue will become cancerous and nibble at the core of your relationship. The marital relationship was really designed to encourage transparency. This encourages and develops trust and intimacy. Intimacy will give you a responsible freedom because you are able to trust one another. It is really important to pray for as well as with one another. In many cases there have been such poor marriage role models that you simply do not know what to do. Many people who are married are lonely. This really does not have to be. Don’t settle for a superficial relationship that is on for public view. Think about it God is always present! Learn to live on a deeper level. Learn to become sensitive to one another’s needs. Your needs are important but not to the extent that you overlook the needs of your spouse. Some needs have exclusively been reserved to be met only within marriage. This does not mean that you can, nor are you responsible for the fulfillment of all of their needs.

Don’t just assume that your spouse knows something, or is happy or….. Many have just not learned the benefits of being open in marriage. (This is not at all the same as having an open marriage. In that case why marry at all?) It takes time to develop and build effective communication. How well do you really know this person you have committed to? Being open is the catalyst that ajars the door for developing effective communication. One must learn to listen as well, in order to effectively communicate. Don’t think short term, think long term. Get to know this person that you have committed to love, honor and …….. Or was that too just for the people? Don’t always mentally construct your response or rebuttal as you listen. Let it be your goal to attentively listen to whatever your spouse or anyone is trying to convey to you. If you are really interested in improving your relationship you must also learn how to listen. Taking the time to listen attentively to how your spouse feels validates that you care, value and are genuinely concerned about them. This helps them to open up. Remember, God intended for your spouse to be your “helpmeet”. Listening effectively is an art. The next time you talk to them really listen. Check yourself out and see how well you listen? If necessary repeat what they have said to confirm you heard correctly what they were trying to convey. Don’t always personalize everything they say. This will help you dispel erroneous and distorted conclusions or assumptions. Effective listening says you really want to hear what is being conveyed.

A good strong marriage or any other relationship for that matter consists of good communication. You do not have to agree with what is being conveyed. Sometimes just being a sounding board is necessary. You want to create an environment in which you do not have to feel like you are walking on egg shells. A major complaint in marriage is that my spouse does not understand me. Do you understand your spouse? Don’t make it a habit of always waiting until you are angry to fuel your ability to say how you feel. Plan ahead a time when you together can talk about whatever concerns you. Here is the opportunity to acquire some self-control skills. Think about it. Flying off the handle is really letting someone control you by remote. In this case your emotions only get the best of you and you impulsively say a lot of stuff that you can’t take back. You have actually stored it up, and bottled it up, to the point that it has fermented and become toxic. When this is the case it often results in flaring hot tempers which just usually yields more hurt feelings. If this is the case change is necessary in order to develop a healthier way to communicate.

The scriptures tell us “to be angry and sin not.” God does not tell us to do something that is not possible. Think about it now that you are calm and centered. Your feelings are important; they do need to be validated. Exercising self control strengthens your ability to not let your feelings control you. You should really want to create an environment where both of you can openly share how you feel. You also want to be able to freely express yourself even when you don’t agree about something. When you are always usually fueled by anger to express yourself it often leads to a breakdown or barrier in the relationship. Please don’t use that “nobody’s perfect” excuse to justify your ranting and ravings. Self control is a virtue. This does not mean that you stuff how you feel and just let any and everyone walk over you. It means that the majority of the time you choose to decide how you want to respond or not respond or simply just overlook. Rather than to just simply react. Don’t make everything an issue. Just observe what happens when and if you go off. Does it get the results you want? Do you really feel better? Or in fact have you just created another barrier? Sometimes no one wants to confront you and tell you if this is the way you are… Confrontation is a healthy part of communication. Constructive criticism really is a good thing. Getting the Lord involved always helps. He is always there. But you are given the free will to choose. You build self control as you exercise it in your life. This also helps to foster an environment in which you can build a healthier stronger marriage. Don’t ever take one another for granted. If you have; change it. You do not have to continue to live with dysfunction. The correct way to point the finger is in both directions. The good thing about God it’s never too late to change. Are you happy with the way that you communicate with your spouse? Is there room for improvement? Take some time and think about it? There is always room for improvement. Don’t let pride take the forefront in your relationship.

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Did You Know God Ordained Marriage From The Very Beginning?

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When the Mayor of San Francisco California decided that he would okay same sex relationships, he did not consider that he was going against the Word of God? Or did he? I do not say marriage because marriage is a covenant agreement with God. If you have read the Bible it is quite clear that God does not accept or condone these types of relationships. God created us to live our lives daily centered on Him. God wants His children to have an intimate personal relationship with Him. When we obey His Word we grow spiritually. There are many types of religions. But there is only one true God. Just about anything goes when you are religious. Just having a religious experience is not the same thing. Let’s further look at God’s design for marriage. Let’s take a look as well at what is going on in San Francisco. Do you think this is acceptable?

Did you know that from the very beginning God ordained marriage? He intended for marriage to be a committed covenant relationship. Adam was first created from the elements of the earth. God actually made Eve from a part of Adam’s body, to be by his side as his helpmeet. In today’s lingual this simply means companion. He told them to be fruitful and multiply. It is within the marriage union that two become one spiritually. God’s only design for marriage consists of one man and one woman. What is happening in San Francisco further distorts God’s design for marriage. Marriage between man and woman is the only type of marriage that God ordains. When the world’s principles are adopted we begin to drift further away from God’s principles. We must not compromise God’s principles. God loved us so much that He created us in His image. Marriage ordained by God is sacred. As Christians we really need to think about how much we truly value what God has to say about marriage and family.

I realize that in 2004 that just about anything goes in the world. It is becoming increasingly evident that many are confused about what God has to say about marriage. Accepting same sex marriages is not exercising unconditional love. We as Christians say we have committed to Jesus being the way, truth and the life? Or have we? Or is it okay when a majority of people decide to go along with whatever? God has already spoken quite clearly. God will not lead anyone to do anything wrong or contrary to His Word. Many are being mislead. As a Christian you need to daily include the Word of God in your spiritual diet. This is why the Lord’s Prayer tells us “Give us today our daily bread.” This also why God told Peter three times to “feed His Sheep.” What you eat spiritually is vitally important. When one adopts a daily spiritual meal of the Word you will grow stronger spiritually. This will actually help you to navigate properly in the world. Your desire to embrace what God has to say about marriage, life and living. will increase. When situations such as in San Francisco arise you will be able to recognize that this is not in line with God’s Word.

The world says you can have as many marriages as you please? Just make sure you get divorced. But God says that divorce occurs once one’s heart has hardened. Actually they are no longer open to working things out with the spouse to whom they have made a commitment. Many never resolve the bitterness that they experienced in an unsuccessful marriage. Many times they divorce because they really do not understand what God has said in regards to marriage. God’s Word talks about a hardened heart. People who have divorced know first hand what a hardened heart feels like. This is why it is so important to make sure that when you decide to marry someone you are committed. Make sure that you are aware your covenant is not only with your spouse but with God. Many people treat others better than they do their very own spouse. Marriage is an excellent opportunity to experience and ever increasing God centered love. God is love. God is eternal. The traditional wedding vows says “I pledge thee my troth” Troth means fidelity, faithfulness, loyalty and honestly. God honors integrity in marriage. God will and can teach you how to guard your heart in lieu of having a hardened heart experience.

Christian marriage & family values are often set aside. Today, due to the many broken marriages it is not often you can find a family with both biological parents and children. When same sex relationships are embraced it mocks God’s design for marriage. What do you mean? Same sex relationships should not receive the same recognition or benefits of marriage. This is why marriage is called Holy Matrimony. Holy means to be set apart for God! The truth is many have compromised God’s principles and begun to conform to the world. God’s original plan for marriage and family has not changed. Parents should instill in their children God’s principles for marriage. This does not mean that He does not accept families that are blended. Just know that there are additional relational dynamics that are experienced in the blended family. Read the story of Abraham and Sarah. Look closely at what happened between Ishmael and Isaac this is an excellent example of what happens when we do things contrary to what God says. The story of Joseph and his brothers is another example. Always remember God has all power He is always able to bring about healing in all and any situation.

Many times as a child of God you must forego acceptance .You must be willing to confront, resolve, acknowledge, repent and move forward whenever conflict arises. Sweeping things under the rug causes one to walk in denial. If too much time goes by this actually allows the facts often to become distorted. God really does have an effective resolution process. When you stand on God’s principles you never stand alone. God will never forsake you. God allows many things to happen. God wants to build our character. God wants us to instill in our children His principles. Jesus Christ is a solid rock! When you are rooted and grounded in His Word you will be spiritually grounded. The storms of life will not uproot you when your foundation is on the Lord. Life is a continual quest of spiritual growth. Spiritual warfare is a part of spiritual growth. God has said that those who live by His Word will be persecuted. There will always be those who will attempt to discredit you when you take a stand for what is right. Just make sure that your stance is anchored upon truth. You do not have to force God on anyone. God allows the freedom of choice. Remember it is not how things appear. God knows how they are really. It is vitally important to consult God when you desire to marry. We must learn to discipline ourselves to respond in a way that pleases God. It is very important to be absolutely sure that you KNOW you are a child of God. When you know for sure you are a child of God no one, nobody or nothing can ever change that; no matter what! This is why we must encourage others to faithfully study God’s Word. We should willingly encourage others whenever possible to embrace God’s design for marriage. We must go a step further and obey what His Word has to say. We have a spiritual and ethical responsibility to resolve life’s challenges His way. Trials are a part of life. When you focus on God He will shower His grace upon you even in the midst of a storm, test or trial.

In 2004 God’s plan for marriage has not changed. God has said that “pure and undefiled religion is to visit the widows and the orphans and to keep yourself unspotted from the world.” God said to “go ye therefore into the world….” The world will continue to change. God has said that it will continue to ignore what He has to say. It will continue to say anything goes. You can’t if you are a Christian. Everyone will have to give an account to God. I want to encourage you today to make, repent or renew your commitment to the Lord. Move beyond saying you are a Christian. The Lord wants you to make a difference wherever you are. Jesus was criticized for being different. It is okay to be different. God says that His children are peculiar. He tells us to be “as wise as a serpent, but as harmless as a dove.” He will give you peace in the midst of a world that constantly turns their back on Him. God’s design for His children for marriage and living has not changed. God’s Word is true! He still wants to be the center of our life, family and worship!

In 2004 should there be a difference? Yes, especially in the lives of His children. God’s children should make a difference. God’s children should stand on His Word! If you do not stand for something you will fall for anything! The world at large does not want to hear what God has to say! That is why He has provided us with a Savior! Jesus was grossly misunderstood, constantly ridiculed, persecuted and brutally beaten. But this did not stop Jesus from being about His Father’s business. He did not lose focus. John the Baptist went about crying “Repent, for the kingdom of God is at hand.” He was beheaded at the request of Herodias’ daughter because her mother was angry that He simply told the truth. (Read the story for yourself) Stephen was stoned because He stood for what was right. The Apostle Paul stood for what was right. He too was mistreated and imprisoned and later crucified upside down. These are a few of many. Jesus was crucified! Why? He not only spoke truth, He was the Truth! I want to encourage you to really know Jesus and the power of His resurrection for yourself!

Desire to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh. Romans tell us we are not condemned when we walk in the Spirit. Let Jesus be your example. Just remember that Jesus was not violent. Many times Jesus did not respond at all. The Bible even says there were times when He said nothing at all. Jesus was aware that they were trying to discredit Him. Yet, He went about doing the will of His Father. He consistently stood His ground by being obedient. Would Jesus say because it is 2004 God’s design for marriage has changed? Would Jesus say it is okay to marry someone of the same sex? Would He agree with what many call unconditional love? Can you truly love someone else and not sincerely know God? I do not think so! Perhaps instead we should say you have what I call “intoxicating affections” instead? When you have truly experienced love you will know the difference! God’s true love is thoroughly described in I Corinthians 13. Take some time and really check it out. Please do not read it for the sake of reading. Just really take a personal examination. One on one with the Holy Spirit. God today and everyday wants to be the center of our life. He wants you to know His Word and the power of His resurrection so you will not be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine.

The world at large in 2004 is in chaos. Any and everything goes. Look around and see if the overall quality of life has improved? There is just about every kind of religion and/or organization that you can think of. But are you really growing spiritually? Not every congregation has God as their center of worship. A few are merely social groups filled with cliques. On the other hand there are many who sincerely love the Lord. There are many congregations that are truly Biblically sound and Spirit filled. They know what it means when we say “I’ve been washed by the blood of Jesus”. Sin does not have to reign in the life of the Christian. Spiritual growth yields discipline. When situations arise we should seek to resolve conflicts or differences in a Godly manner. Be encouraged! The Spirit of God’s power is evident in many multifaceted worship services. God loved us enough to allow us to choose? When Adam and Eve sinned He could have just said “too bad”. No redemption from sin. No way back to Him. But instead He allowed His Son to come and live a sinless life that we might have a way back to Him!

The newly elected San Francisco Mayor has decided to allow same sex marriages. How ironic, God allows the freedom to be wrong. The chaos in the world is the result of the many decisions that did not include God. This week the city of San Francisco allowed numerous couples of the same sex to participate in a ceremony. San Jose has embraced this idea as well. This goes in complete opposition to what God says in the Bible. Once we claim to have accepted Christ as our Savior it really does matter how we live? This is why it is so important not to conform. We are to be transformed by the renewing of our mind. Is it possible to live a God centered life in today’s time? I think so! Of course there will be consequences. You will still have trials, pain, sorrow and grief. But in the midst of it all you will have peace and joy that surpasses the understanding of man. You will be labeled and misunderstood. But you must remember that Jesus who never sinned was greatly misunderstood. His character too was maligned. Did you know Jesus’ accusers did not even honestly and openly face Him? Due to their own insecurity they plotted secretly. They allowed false witnesses to justify their unwarranted accusations. They desired to undermine His influence and credibility.

Character is who you are when nobody but God is watching! Jesus really did show us a better non violent way! I am so thankful that God is watching over all of us! I am really thankful to know that He has everything under His control. He has promised that He will not allow more in our lives than we can handle. God’s true CHURCH really needs to be in prayer! This is why He says to “pray unceasingly.” What we see in San Francisco & San Jose is just a sampling of what is yet to come. What we see happening all around us is God’s Word being fulfilled. You see the world does not embrace morality or God’s design for marriage, living and the family. Yet everyone wants to go to heaven where God’s will is done daily 24/7. Many are deceived. There is a way to be absolutely sure! God has given us a choice. You can choose His way or the world’s way! In 2004 it is all about your choice? Do your thing? Right? Wrong! The right choice is to choose Jesus Christ as your Savior. To adopt His principles for, life, marriage and family. Remember, what God has joined together let not man put asunder. Who is your family? Jesus says, “Those who do the will of the Father.”

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