God Promises Change

Paradoxically, God does not change; and that’s a good thing because we can always count on Him to do what He says He will do. On the other hand, change is good for us because many of us tend to get lost in familiarity.

We get lost because we are afraid of change, blind to how we’ve been living life on automatic, and refusing to take ownership of the consequences. Change is the only thing that is guaranteed in this life; so, it makes sense to make peace with it. It is a gift from God because it always presents us with new possibilities to help put the past behind us and step into a future of hope.

But we must get out of our own way to have that happen – to let go of who we were being with our habits, plans and opinions, and put God in charge, letting Him reconcile us with our true selves. And like anything else we do with God, it’s going to take faith:

…without faith it is impossible to [walk with God and] please Him, for whoever comes [near] to God must [necessarily] believe that God exists and that He rewards those who [earnestly and diligently] seek Him. Heb. 11:6 AMP

To position ourselves for God’s reconciliation, we must recognize that we suffer, and then ask Him to reveal the nature and root of it so that we can pray more effective for its cessation. If we hide from our suffering (via addictions and distractions), it will persist; and it suffocates our love and joy.

Suffering is usually rooted in lack of knowledge, wrath and prejudice – all of which shows up in the way that one thinks, speaks and acts.

So, we ask God to show us the nature of our anguish so that we can drop all our fears and rest in His grace and mercy. We can dispense with our actions that have been working against us, e.g. surrounding ourselves with toxic consumption of news, worldly indoctrination, hurtful people and substances.

When we understand that we are not the only person that suffers, it will fill us with compassion and understanding for others, and we can help stop this cycle that hurts us all. We will be less angry, more loving, peaceful, living in present-time consciousness and come to a place where we are able to mend our relationships – becoming both healed and a healing facilitator for others.

We ask God to remove the hostility and bitterness that we have harbored, without judging ourselves for having done so. After all, that’s part of the healing that God confers upon us so that we can be free to be our original self:

Bless the LORD, O my soul, and forget none of His benefits; who pardons all your iniquities, who heals all your diseases; who redeems your life from the pit, who crowns you with lovingkindness and compassion… Ps. 103:2 – 4. NASB

There is no happiness until we can rest in God. Thus, we need to spend a lot of time in His word, making ourselves available to His love. We can approach Him through Christ, who, while He was on this earth, took on a soul like ours, so that He could completely identify with both our sufferings and the behavior born out of them, without Himself ever taking part in those destructive human doings.

Jesus brings tranquility to our soul by bringing change, one that puts us back on the path of life that God intended for each of us – walking in His kingdom…

Goodnight and God bless.

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The Gospel Will Sell Itself

If you speak it into the ears of the hearer:

…preach the word [as an official messenger]; be ready when the time is right and even when it is not [keep your sense of urgency, whether the opportunity seems favorable or unfavorable, whether convenient or inconvenient, whether welcome or unwelcome]; correct [those who err in doctrine or behavior], warn [those who sin], exhort and encourage [those who are growing toward spiritual maturity], with inexhaustible patience and [faithful] teaching. 2 Tim. 4:2 AMP

All followers of Christ are called to be evangelists (Mk. 16:15), to reach the unsaved for the kingdom of God, to rescue them from eternal death. We’re not all summoned by God to be preachers, but evangelism definitely requires some preaching. Not to worry; every time you open your mouth for Christ, you instantly become Holy Spirit-equipped to do so:

“For the Holy Spirit will teach you in that very hour what you ought to say.” Lk. 12:12 NKJV

“…the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name, He will teach you all things. and bring to your remembrance all things that I said to you.” Jn. 14:26 NKJV

What Jesus says to you is found within His gospel. That’s why you want to get that word in your heart. Then Holy Spirit will help you share it.

However, your evangelism (speaking of the promise of the gospel) will fall upon deaf ears unless you give a compelling reason for them to act upon it. They need to see the danger of embracing worldly thinking and behavior. In a compassionate manner, you must present the old ‘fire and brimstone’ message. He or she must feel the danger of the situation that they are in. You must prepare them for hearing the salvation message by getting them to see why they need it. Then, the gospel will sell itself.

Therefore, for you to be properly prepared for the Holy Spirit to use you for this endeavor, you must separate yourself from the world first. And then pray ardently for the Spirit to facilitate your execution of the message as you get ready to deliver it.

What are we trying to do? We are attempting to reposition the hearer to receive their resurrection from sin and death – by inducing a spiritual longing, a yearning for redemption and making them aware that in and of themselves, their own faith won’t cut it.

We must impart the knowledge that only by embracing the gospel, will they get the faith from God that will make their deliverance happen, i.e. that they cannot receive it by any other means or actions of themselves. God is the one doing the saving, through the sacrifice of His Son.

The required efforts of the recipient are to do is his or her best to give up their sins; and they must be shown that the worst possible sin is to rebuke the gospel:

…you will die [unforgiven and condemned] in your sins; for if you do not believe that I am the One [I claim to be], you will die in your sins.” Jn. 8:24 AMP

The Bible is crystal clear about the path to redemption:

“Believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and you shall be saved…” Acts 16:31 NKJV

So, once you help your hearer really see their present plight, then the gospel can be preached as  you simultaneously assure him or her that it distinctly applies to them – that they will be free of their sins, accepted by God and no longer need to live in fear of death, destruction or the power of the devil.

Moreover, they will now live a life bathed in the love of the Father and the Son through their renewed spirit-connection in their born-again selves.

It would also be good to instill in your new ‘Christian’ some wise wariness, letting them know that there are malevolent spirits in this world that will try to cause them to stumble in their walk to follow Jesus. Teach them that despite their self-recriminations that arise over those slip-ups, God still loves and accepts them and will help them to get up and face another day – as He keeps their unique place awaiting in heaven.

Let them know that the moment they received Christ, they were transformed by the Holy Spirit into their heavenly life now. Even so, they must now be acutely aware of the forces in this world that would darken their soul once more, so that they must strengthen themselves by living as Christ did, to the best of their ability.

Anyone who approaches you asking questions about salvation already has God working inside of them. God’s talking to you through them at that point, saying, “I’m sending you another one. You can do this. The gospel will sell itself.”

We also lovingly help our hearer see their wretchedness, and then we open their eyes to the mercy of God – where punishment is a thing of the past.

Fire and brimstone message? God only warns of hell to implore His children to come to heaven. We must preach as long as they will be willing to hear – patiently until they either get it or reject it. The result falls into the space of the hearer’s free will. But at least you can open the door…

Goodnight and God bless.

When God Calls

When God calls you, it will be to serve His purposes in you – to do His will. Whatever that will is at the moment, we are called to humble ourselves in His presence and cast away anything like pride or the dictates of the present social order. God must be the epicenter of our focus.

It requires our total trust in Him, regardless of what out human logic wants to impose. Trust is faith, and faith brings the peace and joy of the Holy Spirit, as we begin the journey of our transcendent path of spiritual realization. We are becoming what we were originally conceived for.

God shows you the direction, equips you for the task, you perform that task to the best of you ability, and you leave the outcome to Him. Moreover, those outcomes are faith-builders. When we make the decisions to be part of this process, we gather the strength to subjugate our flesh to the Spirit, whereupon we begin freeing ourselves of the knee-jerk reactions of the mind and its preoccupation with the world.

God’s calling will necessitate the shedding of our old self to become a new person in Christ. (Eph. 4:17 – 24). Thankfully, He continually helps us with that:

And we all, with unveiled face, continually seeing as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are progressively being transformed into His image from [one degree of] glory to [even more] glory, which comes from the Lord [who is] the Spirit. 2 Cor. 3:18 AMP

To answer God’s call then, takes rigorous self-examination with regards to one’s alignment with His word, so that he or she are in a state of preparedness And when we rest in God’s will, we come to know the goodness that He implanted within in us, and can subsequently tap into it to bring forth the fruits of our calling. We radiate His image, and our lives are grander for it.

God trains you for your calling, and some of that ‘training’ can be painful. It may even feel punitive, but it’s not. He is coaching you, developing your spiritual integrity and fortitude  by removing layer after layer of worldly pollution.

When we are called, we will encounter obstacles, because our adversary tries to thwart out efforts. Yet God would not call us to strive for something that we could not do (because He backs us up). Our successes in Him builds our faith in our ability to be used by Him for each ensuing task upon our path.

When we answer the call of servitude, we are one with God and simultaneously set free from the world, and from the leash that it has tried to strangle us with. It is a joyful state as we come to realize that our calling also includes one that will culminate in His eternal presence through the grace of our Blessed Savior…

Goodnight and God bless.

Strengthening Our Faith

We find our strength in God when we dip ourselves in Him. A ‘dip’ does not consist of church services without Christ at its center, or giving oneself over to a dynamic charismatic personality at the pulpit who is more concerned with wowing his congregation with his delivery, rather than his content.

Our strength is derived from our faith in the word of God. With faith, we establish the connection; and then the ‘author and perfecter’ of our faith (Heb. 12:2), Jesus Christ, fortifies the seeds of our conviction. It is our faith in God’s unrestricted love for us first, that opens the doors for us to love Him back, and thus be nurtured as well.

We dip ourselves in God when we read the scriptures and we do the same when we hear them:

So faith comes from hearing [what is told], and what is heard comes by the [preaching of the] message concerning Christ. Rm. 10:17 AMP

You can also take those words and examine them in contemplative prayer, asking God to reveal further depth to your understanding, which brings you closer to Him. The more you give yourself to God, the more you will gain further understanding of Him, yourself and your place in His plan, which facilitates greater faith.

Taking part in the ‘sacraments’ (i.e. baptism and Lord’s Supper) also call to play your visual sense, to supplement your faith. They are the words of God – acted out. You are partaking in the grace of God, not performing some ‘work,’ to earn your salvation. It is an act of faith. In the taking of the Lord’s Supper for example, you focus not on the sacrament itself, but on the promise of forgiveness of your sins through His blood that they represent.

After all, what was Jesus (in His carnal manifestation), if not a ‘living sacrament,’ to show us the true nature of God – to build our faith?

When you are evangelizing, it is not the hearer’s faith in you the speaker, but in the words of the gospel you deliver that is the faith-builder for the recipient. It’s not about the evangelist. It’s about honoring God for His merciful gift of salvation, and learning to love others as God loves us (and how we should love ourselves) that motivates us to yearn for their company in heaven. We know that the sacred light of salvation is put out in sin, and thus we know that our efforts take on a life-or-death significance towards the one we are pouring out our godly love upon.

And guess what? When you see someone’s life transform because they accepted Christ as their Savior, isn’t that a faith-builder for you?

Likewise, when you are out doing good works, it isn’t for your own salvation, but because your ‘saved’ heart is motivating you to do godly things. We plant the seeds; Christ grows them. More faith.

When God tests you, it is not to see if you have the mettle to be a Christian, it is to get you to know Him better and cling to Him in total dependency, i.e. in greater faith. Our dependency motivates our obedience, which in itself builds faith because right actions produce right outcomes, and right outcomes bring glory to the Father. It is the fruits of our faith that lift up our God.

Salvation sets the ‘old sinners’ free. The true remaining sinners are then those who willfully continue to rebel and offend because they’d rather cling to the ways of the world. It’s not the sin, but the attitude of the willful sinner that casts out the grace of God and places the will of the devil in its place. It’s our faith in grace that keeps us on the battlefield, fighting the fight for their lives.

Faith is also built when we worship because we are focused on the goodness of God and His promises. We have faith because of HIs justification – not through our faith, but from Christ’s deliverance, which we lock onto through our faith. Only Christ justifies. Our faith is what accepts His salvation.

It’s not about what you can do. It’s about surrendering yourself to be used by God.

Faith-building is also a product of honoring God for the fruits of our relationship with Him. An attitude of gratitude recognizes God as the source of all things. And the witnessing of His promises fulfilled, shore up the faith you already had in the belief that He would deliver.

Faith is built by remembering the ‘old man,’ that you put off, before you were regenerated as the ‘new man in Christ (Eph. 4:17 – 24.) After all, to acquire faith, you must gain a full knowledge of your old sinful ways and the agony associated with them. Only then, can you appreciate the magnitude of what Christ accomplished in you, because you started out with a little faith. Jesus took you in just as you were and freed you from the guilt, shame and sorrow.

Once you became sorry and remorseful, Jesus was already at work.

When you’re living a life in God, you are reminded in every moment of His grace, regardless of how the rest of the world may look, and you can’t help but feel your faith muscles building…

Goodnight and God bless.