Life doesn’t have to be so discouraging

When I read the news these days I cannot help but to shake my head and wonder what is going on in America. I am discouraged by decisions that are being made as well as reactions to decisions being made. In a nation that is supposedly comprised of almost seventy percent of its people that claim Christianity as their religion, roughly 226 million people, it continues to astonish me how we act toward one another and in regards to our leaders.

1 Timothy 2:1-2 says, “I urge you, first of all, to pray for all people. Ask God to help them; intercede on their behalf, and give thanks for them. 2 Pray this way for kings and all who are in authority so that we can live peaceful and quiet lives marked by godliness and dignity.” We live in a country that is by large a peaceful country in which we are very privileged and blessed, but how often do we pray for our leaders? How often do we give thanks for what we have?

When I go out into the public the majority of conversations that I hear are comprised of nothing more than discouraging remarks and complaints. I must admit that I can easily fall into this category as well, but as Christians shouldn’t we act differently, shouldn’t we respond differently?

Romans 13:1-5
Everyone must submit to governing authorities. For all authority comes from God, and those in positions of authority have been placed there by God. 2 So anyone who rebels against authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and they will be punished. 3 For the authorities do not strike fear in people who are doing right, but in those who are doing wrong. Would you like to live without fear of the authorities? Do what is right, and they will honor you. 4 The authorities are God’s servants, sent for your good. But if you are doing wrong, of course you should be afraid, for they have the power to punish you. They are God’s servants, sent for the very purpose of punishing those who do what is wrong. 5 So you must submit to them, not only to avoid punishment, but also to keep a clear conscience.

If we are truly following God then we have nothing to worry about. If we are truly praying for our leaders than we have nothing to worry about, because God’s Word tells us so and has proven the faithfulness of God when His people humble themselves and follow Him.

2 Chronicles 7:12-22
“I have heard your prayer and have chosen this Temple as the place for making sacrifices. 13 At times I might shut up the heavens so that no rain falls, or command grasshoppers to devour your crops, or send plagues among you. 14 Then if my people who are called by my name will humble themselves and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways, I will hear from heaven and will forgive their sins and restore their land. 15 My eyes will be open and my ears attentive to every prayer made in this place. 16 For I have chosen this Temple and set it apart to be holy—a place where my name will be honored forever. I will always watch over it, for it is dear to my heart.

17 “As for you, if you faithfully follow me as David your father did, obeying all my commands, decrees, and regulations, 18 then I will establish the throne of your dynasty. For I made this covenant with your father, David, when I said, ‘One of your descendants will always rule over Israel.’

19 “But if you or your descendants abandon me and disobey the decrees and commands I have given you, and if you serve and worship other gods, 20 then I will uproot the people from this land that I have given them. I will reject this Temple that I have made holy to honor my name. I will make it an object of mockery and ridicule among the nations. 21 And though this Temple is impressive now, all who pass by will be appalled. They will ask, ‘Why did the Lord do such terrible things to this land and to this Temple?’

22 “And the answer will be, ‘Because his people abandoned the Lord, the God of their ancestors, who brought them out of Egypt, and they worshiped other gods instead and bowed down to them. That is why he has brought all these disasters on them.’”

If we truly want to see change in our country we need to stop complaining with one another and start kneeling with one another. We need to start fasting with one another and we need to start loving one another.

1 John 4:16-19
16 We know how much God loves us, and we have put our trust in his love.God is love, and all who live in love live in God, and God lives in them.17 And as we live in God, our love grows more perfect. So we will not be afraid on the Day of Judgment, but we can face him with confidence because we live like Jesus here in this world.18 Such love has no fear, because perfect love expels all fear. If we are afraid, it is for fear of punishment, and this shows that we have not fully experienced his perfect love. 19 We love each other because he loved us first.

Following God in love and actions is not a futile act, it is life giving and life changing. When we follow God in trust and love our lives are changed and the circumstances surrounding our lives are changed as well. We receive God’s favor because we are His chosen children. We have the power to change what is happening around us, but it’s not going to happen by complaining or rioting or by being hateful. It will ONLY happen if we will humble ourselves and submit to God who created all things and who sent Jesus to die on the cross so that we could have life. He did this out of His love for us and when we truly understand the depth of His love for us we will be humbled and will follow Him out of reverence and adoration. We can follow faithfully knowing that He loved us first.

May God bless you as you humble yourself before Him and turn from your wicked ways. May He strengthen you and encourage you as you seek His face in prayer and follow where He is leading you. In Jesus’ name. Amen.

Numbers 6:24-26
24 ‘May the Lord bless you
and protect you.
25 May the Lord smile on you
and be gracious to you.
26 May the Lord show you his favor
and give you his peace.’

God is so good!

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Hello and good day to you. Have you received an encouragement from God lately? Has he blessed you in some way? Maybe he has gotten you through a particularly difficult time. Well there are others out there who have been struggling that need to know that God is still at work. Would you share an encouragement with them today? As brothers and sisters in Christ we need to be encouraging one another often, so if you have a story please share.

God is so good and he is always faithful. May he richly bless you as he uses your story to bless others.

God be with you!

Jeremy

P.S.  I would love to have your story on my testimonies page if you would be willing to submit it there as well.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ichthys

Fish cannot be cleaned until they are caught

Why is it that we think that evangelism is so hard? Isn’t it really just telling our story? How hard could that really be? It’s our story and it actually happened to us. The reason evangelism is so hard is because we get too wrapped up in people’s stuff that they bring with them. Evangelism is not easy, it’s not a dry cut thing, it’s messy, and it’s difficult because we don’t want to get involved in their lives. Maybe it’s because we just don’t remember what it feels like to be lost.

So how do we reach these people that live such messy lives that we feel are not fit to be Christians because they don’t have things together? Well first off need to quit judging and we need to just talk to them right where they are and STOP trying to make them change there ways before they even accept Jesus. We just talk to them and really listen to them. We learn to see them as God does and realize that the cleaning part is not ours to do.

I was listening to a Joyce Meyer broadcast the other day and she was talking about having gone into a store with a friend and how they had struck up a conversation with the cashier about God. The cashier was talking about how she cusses once in a while but that it was okay because she knew God understood because He cussed once in a while too. Immediately Joyce started to tell the cashier that God does not cuss; she was trying to clean a fish that hadn’t even been caught yet. It was at that time that her friend came in and said but He really loves people people who do.

Photo by @Chruch4U2
Photo by @Chruch4U2
We are called to be fishers of men but more often than not we would much rather do God’s job and try to clean the fish rather than catch them. It’s not our job to clean the fish it is simply our job to share our story, to love them, to care for them, and not to judge them because we wouldn’t want to be judged. Knowing that we do not have to worry about cleaning the fish really makes telling our story so much easier because there is no pressure. In our own power we will not get people to accept Jesus, no matter how hard we try. It is the Holy Spirit working within them and through us that brings people to Christ; we just have an awesome God who wants to involve us in the process.

We can look to Jesus for examples of how to bring people to a understanding of God’s love for them. Take for instance the woman at the well. Jesus knew exactly who she was and what she had done, but instead of sending her away or trying to get her to change her ways He loved her. He showed her that He cared. It wasn’t until after she had asked Him what she needed to do in order to get the living water that Jesus told her to go and sin no more. So what did she do? She ran off into the town and told her story and the Bible says that many came to believe because of her story. It was because of the story from a woman who was looked down upon in society, who had done many things that were not acceptable that others came to Christ. Her story had power and so does yours.

So what does it really look like to evangelize and to share God’s Word? Well how about we just start with our story. God has given each of us a story to tell. Often times we tend to call this our testimony but when we think of our testimony we tend to think of one concrete thing that led us to Christ. In reality there are way more things that Christ has given us to share of His grace, and love, and power. God doesn’t just bring us in to leave us to fend for ourselves. God has cared for us and has shown us over and over again how He does and all of these things are tools to help us show God’s love to others.

When we are with others we need to remember that God was working in our lives before we accepted Him and we need to start listening on different levels. We need to learn to start paying full attention to what the other person is saying by truly listening to how they feel and to what it is that they’re actually saying. At the same time we need to be seeking out God while we’re listening to them and learn to hear what He’s saying and feeling about them, because God knows more about this person than they even know about themselves and He wants them to know something, He wants them to know that He is really there for them and sometimes He will even give us special messages or words for the person we are talking to that will help them know that He is who He is.

Lastly we need to realize that bringing people to accept Jesus is not about us, it is an act of worship that God allows us to partake in. Because it is an act of worship we must also realize that no matter what the outcome with the individual is that we can and should praise God for using us to help bring that person closer to Him. Worship is about the Father, not us, so when we approach evangelism as worship it completely takes the focus off of us and what we are doing and places it directly where it needs to be, on God. The thing that I am beginning to realize though is that worship is not easy; it’s not just something that we can do half-heartedly. It requires opening up completely to God and showing Him how much of an honor it is to be His child, how much He deserves our praise, and this takes time and practice.

Everything we do must come out of the overflow from what the Father has done for us. It must come from a realization that we are utterly lost without Him and destined for death. For me this is difficult; I am a doer. I see something that needs to be done and I do, but God doesn’t want me to do things, He wants me to be a conduit through which He can show His love. He cannot do this when my heart is in the wrong place. I need to learn to worship Him in all that I do. I need to learn to give worship a higher place in my life because it is what gives God the most power and glory. For Joshua worship became first and foremost in all that He did. When Joshua was to lead Israel across the Jordan river he told them they must make themselves holy because God was going to do something amazing tomorrow (Josh. 3:5). While marching Joshua across the Jordan River that God had stopped immediately as their feet touched the water (Josh. 3:15-16) Joshua instructed the priests to gather up twelve boulders from the middle of the river to build a memorial on shore to commemorate the place where God had cut off the waters for them to pass through (Josh. 4:4-9).

Joshua knew how important worshiping God was that he went through great lengths to let God know how much He honored him. Worship is our direct connection to God and it is through which that God reveals more of who He is to us. Our story is a part of our worship and as such it is to be used to worship God, it is to be used to bring glory and honor to His name to a hurting people who do not know who God is. Our story is our tool to help others see what Jesus has done for us. There is no greater tool for us because we know that our story is real and we should be passionate about it. We don’t have to share it perfectly, we just need to share the part of it that God is leading us to share in any given moment and when people come to know Him through it we must praise Him, and when we only bring people a little closer we must praise Him, and even if we don’t see any change at all we must praise Him. To God be all glory and honor and praise forever and ever.

Have a blessed day!

If this was helpful or encouraging to you please feel free to share it with others. If you have any questions or comments please feel free to make a comment. We all have a purpose and can be used to help others draw closer to God. God bless you in your journey to knowing Him deeper than before and accepting yourself with all of the qualities that God desires for you to have.