Friday, May 28, 2010

Just ask!

"If you want to know what God really wants you to do, ask him . . . but if you don't ask in faith, don't expect the Lord to give you any solid answer." James 1:5-6 (LB)

"Have you ever asked God for something and didn't expect to get it? That's why you didn't get it."

The Bible says when we ask God for guidance, we need to believe he will give us that guidance.

Jesus said, "Ask and it shall be given, seek and ye shall find, knock and the door will be opened" (Luke 11:9 NIV). Ask, seek, knock—ASK. God wants you to learn to ask.

God is willing to give wisdom: "If you want to know what God really wants you to do, ask him, and he will gladly tell you, for he is always ready to give a bountiful supply of wisdom to all who ask him; but . . . if you don't ask in faith, don't expect the Lord to give you any solid answer" (James 1: 5-6 LB).

God wants to direct you in life, but two things need to line up: You have to ask the right person—God, and you have to ask with the right attitude—in faith, expecting an answer.

Have you ever asked God for something and didn't expect to get it? That's why you didn't get it. God works in our lives according to faith. So many times we say, "God, please guide me!" and we walk away not even waiting for guidance. We just immediately start to work. We say, "God, I want you to give me wisdom, help me make the right decision." But we don't really expect Him to do that. We think it all depends on us.

God has promised to give us wisdom, if we will ask. Wisdom is seeing life from God's point of view. Wisdom is the ability to make decisions the way God makes decisions.

Think about this: God never makes a bad decision. He never makes a mistake. He says if we trust Him and listen to Him, He will guide us. But we must ask in faith.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

You can't decide without a guide

"He guides the humble in what is right and teaches them his way." Psalm 25:9 (NIV)

The Bible says there are several things we need to do to receive guidance from God, but the very first thing is this:

I need to admit I need a guide!

Sheep, by nature, tend to wander off the path. The Prophet Isaiah says, "All of us like sheep have strayed away! We have left God's paths to follow our own." (Isaiah 53:6 NLT)

This is why we often don't know God's will. The truth is most of the time we don't want to follow God or anybody else. We want to go our own way. We don't want to admit we need direction or that we need a guide.

Another thing about sheep is that they have poor vision. They can't see very far ahead. That's why, on a path, they don't know if it is heading toward a cliff, and that's why they need a shepherd. We can't see the future. We don't know what's going to happen tomorrow, much less next year or ten years from now. We don't even know what's going to happen this afternoon.

God made you so that you would not be able to see into the future no matter how much you try. Even with all the gimmicks to predict the future, you don't really know what's going to happen. Why did God do this? He did it so you would depend on Him.

Because we can't see into the future, we often stumble. Proverbs 14:12 says, "There is a way that seems right to a man, but in the end it leads to death" (NIV). We've all made decisions that at the time seemed right but later on turned out to be wrong. Some paths lead to dead ends and we end up off track. That's why we need to admit, "God, I need help."

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Trusting God when I don't understand

"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." Proverbs 3:5-6 (NIV)

When the children of Israel were finally set free from Egypt after 400 years of slavery, they started marching out to freedom and the first thing they came to was the Red Sea. There were impassable mountain ranges on two sides of them, the sea in front of them.

Behind them, in hot pursuit, was the Egyptian army because the Pharaoh had changed his mind about letting them go. The path before the Israelites looked like a dead end.

But God knew exactly what He wanted to do. He had not made a mistake. He could see what they could not see. He opened the Red Sea and they walked through to safety. Years later, the Israelites looked back and sang, "Your road led by a pathway through the sea—a pathway no one knew was there!" (Psalm 77:19 LB).

You may be facing a dead end right now—financial, emotional, relational—but God can see a path that you don't know about. If you will trust God and keep on moving in faith, even when you don't see a way, He will make a way.

It will become more understandable as you head down the path he sets before you, but understanding is not a requirement for you to start down the path. Proverbs 4:18 says, "The path of the righteous is like the first gleam of dawn, shining brighter till the full light of day" (NIV). One day you will stand in the full light of eternity and view the big picture. You'll see God's purpose behind the path He specifically chose for you.

What do I do in the meantime? You do what Proverbs 3 says: "Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge him, and he will make your paths straight." What does He mean "don't lean on your own understanding"? You don't need to try to figure it out. In truth, you're not going to understand most of the things that happen in your life until you get to heaven.

Be patient. God knows what He's doing. God knows what's best for you. He can see the end result. You can't. All those problems, heartaches, difficulties and delays -- all the things that make you ask "why" -- one day it will all be clear in the light of God's love.

But for now, we're learning to trust God.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

A church family is a laboratory for love

All of you together are Christ's body, and each of you is a part of it. 1 Corinthians 12:27 (NLT)

"Many Christians who know John 3:16 are unaware of 1 John 3:16: "Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers."."

You are not the Body of Christ on your own. You need others to express that. Together, not separated, we are his Body.

A church family moves you out of self-centered isolation. The local church is the classroom for learning how to get along in God's family. It is a lab for practicing unselfish, sympathetic love.

As a participating member you learn to care about others and share the experiences of others: "If one part of the body suffers, all the other parts suffer with it. Or if one part of our body is honored, all the other parts share its honor." (1 Corinthians 12:26 NCV)

Only in regular contact with ordinary, imperfect believers can we learn real fellowship and experience the New Testament truth of being connected and dependent on each other. (Ephesians 4:16, Romans 12:4-5, Colossians 2:19, 1 Corinthians 12:25)

Biblical fellowship is being as committed to each other as we are to Jesus Christ. God expects us to give our lives for each other. Many Christians who know John 3:16 are unaware of 1 John 3:16: "Jesus Christ laid down his life for us. And we ought to lay down our lives for our brothers." (NIV)
This is the kind of sacrificial love God expects you to show other believers—a willingness to love them in the same way Jesus loves you.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

You are unique in God's family

A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church. 1 Corinthians 12:7 (NLT)

"Jesus has not promised to build your ministry; he has promised to build his church."

God has a unique role for you to play in his family.

This is your ministry, and God has gifted you for this assignment: "A spiritual gift is given to each of us as a means of helping the entire church." (1 Corinthians 12:7 NLT)

Your local fellowship is the place God designed for you to discover, develop, and use your gifts. You may also have a wider ministry, but that is in addition to your service in a local body. Jesus has not promised to build your ministry; he has promised to build his church.

You will share in Christ's mission in the world. When Jesus walked the earth, God worked through the physical body of Christ; today he uses his spiritual body. The church is God's instrument on earth.

We are not just to model God's love by loving each other; we are to carry it together to the rest of the world. This is an incredible privilege we have been given together.

As members of Christ's body, we are his hands, his feet, his eyes, and his heart. He works through us in the world. We each have a contribution to make.

Paul tells us, "He creates each of us by Christ Jesus to join him in the work he does, the good work he has gotten ready for us to do, work we had better be doing." (Ephesians 2:10 (MSG)

Friday, May 21, 2010

God never says, "You did what!?"

Nothing in all creation is hidden from God's sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account. Hebrews 4:13 (NIV)

"God is never confused by a problem. He's never surprised and he's never shocked. "

One night I was standing in front of the refrigerator. I'd gotten out of bed to make a midnight refrigerator raid even though I was on a diet. And I stood there with the refrigerator door open, thinking, "Just one bite ...."

You know how it goes. You get into a debate with yourself: "Go ahead; it won't hurt this one time." "No, I'm on this diet."

It's in moments like these that Satan feeds us a devilish excuse, "No one will ever know."

You may not be standing in front of the refrigerator. You may be at work, or filling out your income tax form, or some place your family wouldn't want you to be. But you go ahead and do something questionable because it's easy to get caught up in the false belief that 'no one will ever know.'

The truth is, God already knows!

The Bible says nothing in creation is hidden from God (Psalms 147:5), and that God knows everything about you (Psalm 139). This means there's no question God can't answer and no problem that confuses Him. He's never surprised and he's never shocked. He never says, "Oh, really!?" God knows everything. Theologians call this the omniscience of God.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Freedom From Legalism

Therefore you are no longer a slave but a son, and if a son, then an heir of God through Christ. Galatians. 4:7

In the days of apostle Paul, legalism was trying to penetrate into the Galatian Church. Some Judaizers were teaching the new Christians that they were required to follow the Jewish laws to obtain salvation. For them, salvation was based on works, not solely on God’s free gift of grace.

In Galatians 4, Paul was trying to show us the difference between walking in the Spirit and walking in the flesh. When a believer is spiritually immature, he is insensitive to the Holy Spirit. He doesn’t know how to walk with Him or hear His voice. Such a Christian is a babe in Christ, ignorant of the things of God. He needs to be constantly told by others what is right or wrong for him. So instead of letting God control his life, he ends up allowing people to control him. And when imperfect people start regulating your life, you will inevitably be enslaved into bondage again.

Paul says, “Now I say that the heir, as long as he is a child, does not differ at all from a slave, though he is master of all, but is under guardians and stewards until the time appointed by the father” (Gal. 4:1-2). No matter how great our inheritance is, as long as we don’t grow up in God, we will never get to enjoy it. We are no different from being a slave. And as long as we are enslaved, we will never be free to enjoy God’s blessings.

If we are not willing to trust and obey God, we will soon go back to the slavery of the fl esh, which is “adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfi sh ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries, and the like” (5:19-21). Those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God.

That is the real danger of legalism. Legalism is allowing man-made rules to play the role of the Holy Spirit in your life-what to eat, what to drink, what to wear, where to go, etc. While the intentions of some legalists may be noble (for example, to prevent you from sinning), they actually do you a grave disservice because they cut you off from a life of faith in the Spirit. Legalism ultimately will bring people into a state of spiritual poverty, robbing them of all the joy and blessings that God has promised us through faith in the Lord Jesus Christ. You have true freedom in Christ when you look to the Holy Spirit to lead you in your day-to-day decision-making. And He will always lead and guide you to do the right thing.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Crucified With Christ

“I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.” Galatians 2:20

A believer lives for God by doing four things. First of all, you need to die to the law (Gal. 2:19). The law shows you that you are a sinner and that you fall ever so short of perfection and righteousness. The law shows you that you stand no chance of ever being accepted by God. And no man is capable of obeying every point in the law continually and consistently. He is always coming short of the law and of God’s glory. The first thing you must do in order to live for God is to die to all self-righteous works and to put your faith in Jesus Christ.

Secondly, you need to be crucified with Christ (2:20). How in the world can a man be crucified with Christ when Christ died so many centuries ago? When you believe that Jesus Christ died for you-that Jesus Christ bore the punishment of sin for you-God takes your faith and counts you as having died with Christ. That identification is further strengthened through water baptism. Romans 6:34 says, Or do you not know that as many of us as were baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into His death?” After baptism, you must reckon yourselves to be dead indeed to sin, but alive to God in Christ Jesus our Lord” (6:11). That means, on a daily basis, you must consider your old sinful self as nailed with Jesus on the cross!

Thirdly, you need to allow Christ to live His life through your body (Gal. 2:20). You are no longer in charge of your life. By faith you have been crucified with Christ. Therefore, you are to live with Christ. The way you do that is by allowing Jesus to live in and through your body; to control and to be in charge of your life. Jesus is the vine and you are the branch. You now draw your very life and nourishment from Him (John 15:16).

Fourthly, you need to trust the grace of God (Gal. 2:21). Paul says, I do not set aside the grace of God.” The word set aside” means to invalidate, make ineffective, and nullify. The grace of God is the supernatural strength that enables you to do His will. Yet you can invalidate that power when you choose not to use it. So many Christians treat God’s grace as something unnecessary and rely instead on their own talents, intellect and experience. To live for God, you need His grace to attempt the incredible and achieve the impossible!

Monday, May 10, 2010

How to life your life.

If you live your life by strength
Then you’ll get weary
For your strength is yours
Not other’s around you

If you live your life in pride and glory
Then you’ll become a tyrant
On yourself and your folks

If you live your life in wealth
Then you’ll get disappointed
For all richness can never satisfy
man and time ….. perpetually

If you live your life in comparison and competition
Then you’ll react creatively
Producing rivalry noxious destructive things

But if you live your life in love
Then you’ll present in all the art of beauty
For love need no strenght, pride and glory
nor wealth, comparison and competition
to flow all virtuous life…
for and through your deed
as a heavenly gift..