The trap of Pride

I believe that the lord is trying to teach me once again about the subject of choosing to walk humbly with him, choosing to serve rather than be served. Not thinking of myself to highly but with sober judgment, realizing that I too can and do make the mistakes that I see others around me make all of the time.

I have recently been reading in the book of Galatians and this truth was made evident to me once again.

Galatians 5:26

Let us not become conceited, provoking and envying each other. 

Galatians 6:3 – 5

If anyone thinks he is something when he is nothing, he deceives himself.  Each one should test his own actions. Then he can take pride in himself, without comparing himself to somebody else,  for each one should carry his own load.

The lord it seems when he is trying to get a point a cross to me, will often show me a glaring example.

It all started out innocently enough, a man telling a story about work mates, and the struggles that they were having in fixing things, but then the conversation turned from the struggles to how stupid they were for not being able to fix the problem. Now, in essence I suppose that there is nothing wrong with expressing feelings of frustrations at another’s in ability to perform a task, but it turned into a prideful attitude as soon as it came out that the man managed to fix his workmates problems, without having had any training in that area before.

The whole conversation went something like this, I am better, because they had spent hours trying to figure something out, and I fixed it in 5 minutes.

As I listened to this conversation I realized that the lord had been teaching me about conceit, just a few minutes earlier in his word, (conceited – having an excessively favorable opinion of one’s abilities) and it struck me that here was a live example in front of my eyes.

Now the temptation was to think, ha, see this man was thinking of himself more highly than he should, as I do not believe that he realized that the wisdom that he had to fix the problem had come from God and not his own abilities.

Then the lord reminded me, not to fall into the trap myself, thinking of myself better than him, because I knew better, than to sit there and bad mouth someone, because of their inability to do something, all in an attempt to make me feel better about myself.

The truth is, the lord has been trying to teach me where my strength and abilities come from, they come from him.  When I am willing to walk humbly with him and ask him for the wisdom and direction that I need for my life, I can trust him to show me how to do things, what to say and how to truly show his love and grace to all those around me.

I then have the privilege of giving God the Glory for what he is doing in and through me instead of me taking it all and not giving Him thanks for what he enabled me to do through his spirit.

I will pray for that man, that he too would come to realize that all of his abilities come from the lord, as well as that he will learn to walk humbly with the lord.

My friend, pride is deadly and it so easily convinces us to elevate ourselves way out of proportion. It is not that God wants to place us in a position of groveling before him, but when pride is allowed to take up residence in our lives it quickly clouds our vision.

We know longer can see where we are wrong, as others now are in the wrong, and we come to the faulty conclusion that we can truly do all things well on our own. God wants us to understand that all of our strength, abilities, power and wisdom do indeed come from him alone. He is the one that empowers us through his Holy Spirit to do all things well.

Pride and conceit will try to trap us, so my friend if you find yourself in the position of the man in this story, there is a simple solution to the problem, Repent.

God promises us, that when we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us, 1 John 1:9 so ask him today to forgive you of any pride that might be trying to take over and ask him to for the grace to learn to walk humbly with him today. Even if you find yourself repenting multiple times in the day, it is worth it, as you give yourself over to him, to train you in righteousness.

Here are a few scriptures that reinforce the idea of how God opposes those that are proud.

Proverbs 8:13

 To fear the LORD is to hate evil; I hate pride and arrogance, evil behavior and perverse speech.

Proverbs 11:2

 When pride comes, then comes disgrace, but with humility comes wisdom.

Proverbs 13:10

 Pride only breeds quarrels, but wisdom is found in those who take advice.

Proverbs 16:18

 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.

Proverbs 22:4

Humility and the fear of the lord bring wealth and honor and life.

My prayer for you today, is that the lord will lead you into his righteousness, so that you will learn to walk moment by moment in humility with him. Amen.

 

Having a Yes heart

The world is filled with many very talented people. Some use their talents for the good of mankind, others may use them for selfish reasons and some actually bury theirs and never really live lives that are fulfilling or even satisfying.

I used to hide my talents all of the time, fear kept me from pulling them out and dusting them off and using them. It was debilitating for a long time, but then the lord started to work on my heart and helped me to change my mind.

He showed me in scripture that I had been given a task to do on this earth and that to run and hide would never give me any satisfaction.

Ephesians 2: 10

For we are God’s workmanship, created in Christ Jesus to do good works, which God prepared in advance for us to do. 

Therefore armed with this verse I realized that I was not here on this earth just to put in time, but had been given by God a task to do while I was here.

I discovered that the bible taught that some people were gifted by God to become pastors, who would take care of his children. There were responsible to feed the people the word of God and to pray for them, and literally lay down their lives for the people if necessary. They were also responsible to God for their conduct and how they shepherded his flock. The shepherd would never let anything come near the sheep that would harm them. The same is true for a Pastor, he/she needs to be so intimate with God, that he/she guards the flock and would rather die than have anything come near the sheep that would harm them.

Other people have been called to be an evangelist. They go throughout the world and their neighborhoods and share the good news of the gospel with all of the people. These are an important part of the body of Christ, for without them, the pastors and teachers would have none to teacher and care for.

The lord knew that some people would need to be administratively savvy in order to help the pastors, teachers and evangelists deal with all the little details of life, (paper work) so that they could concentrate on the gifting that God had called them to walk in.

 Ephesians 4:11-13

It was he who gave some to be apostles, some to be prophets, some to be evangelists, and some to be pastors and teachers,  to prepare God’s people for works of service, so that the body of Christ may be built up until we all reach unity in the faith and in the knowledge of the Son of God and become mature, attaining to the whole measure of the fullness of Christ.

These gifts that were given to the people were given for the benefit of the whole body of Christ.

So I thought, phew! I am off the hook as I am not a pastor, evangelist and I hate administration. Slowly though the lord helped me to see, that everyone of us in the body are called to minister to those around us. We might not be heading up a big church but we can love our neighbors, care for our families. We can show kindness and compassion to those who need it; we can also allow the Holy Spirit to enable us to do the work that God has called us to do.

Every believer has been given the Holy Spirit when we accepted Jesus Christ as our Savior. Therefore the Holy Spirit comes to the table with gifts and abilities and power that we don’t have naturally. Like true love, compassion, kindness, long suffering, joy, faithfulness to God and His way for our life. . Galatians 5:22

The big question is; how willing are we to use our gifts, talents and natural abilities for the Glory of God? I was not willing to do so for a long time, as I did not realize that Jesus was actually trustworthy with my life.

What do I mean by that? I believed that if I said yes to the lord, then he would send me to a place so far away from all that I knew and loved. That I would have to contend with big spiders and other creeping things and that my life would be miserable.

I did not really know and understand God or his love and plan for my life. God desires that we come to him freely and say, yes lord, not my will but yours be done. He will not use us against our will and he is not mean and nasty requiring things of us, that he would not be willing to do himself.

Yes there are Christians in this world right now who are going through some really horrific things because they are Christians, but they gladly endure it, because they love the lord and they know that His love for them is greater than what they could ever lose in this life.

Therefore on this road to discover the gifts and talents God had placed in my life, I learnt something, it was written in an old book called:

Hearing heart, by author Hannah Hurnard.

She said “We need to know that it is safe to Trust God and that no matter how we are, He can do wonders in and through us.

As God reveals his special gifts in you, be sure to take the time and consecrate it to him. Hand him the gift and say with a humble heart –

Lord, I promise to never say no to you, when you call on me to use my gift that you gave me. Use me lord to reflect you in every way.

Amen.”

My hope and prayer for you today is that you too will realize that God has given you gifts and talents to use to make this world a better place and if you are willing to give those gifts back to him, and allow him to work through you, you will not only have a very fulfilling life but you will have a deep joy and satisfaction that comes only from doing exactly what God prepared in advance for you to do.

 

 

 

 

Broken down walls

Some lessons are never completely grasped until you walk through it yourself. My eldest son recently went through the basic Military Training course. He was in Edmonton for a month where he experienced extreme military training. They screamed at the men, they told them when they were allowed to sleep, eat, run, play, work and even when to go to the bathroom.

When he returned home, he as wound up as tight as a tightly wound spring, ready to let loose at any minute. He was robot like; he did not smile, ate his meals in 10 seconds flat, did not sleep well and had to be told to do everything. He no longer functioned as a human being; he functioned like a robot, needing instructions for the next step.

I expected that kind of behavior from him, and knew that with love, kindness and lots of prayer he would eventually come back to “normal”. It was then that I noticed some other disturbing trends occurring, he had met a young lady and this young lady, understandably took up most of his time which was not what concerned me; it was his lack of personal care that concerned me.

He only did what she wanted, when she wanted and how she wanted, without any regard to his own needs. Young love often makes us put aside what is important in our lives so that we can focus on someone else. He was doing just that, normal I know, but He no longer knew how to set boundaries for himself, so that he could take care of his basic needs.

It was then that the lord opened my eyes to see that because his experience had been so overwhelming in the summer, he had been stripped of all boundaries and no longer knew how to put healthy boundaries in place for himself.

This disturbed me greatly as I saw him get sick, and not take care of himself, I saw his laundry pile up and he would not have clean clothes to wear, and many other little things that sent alarm bells off in my head.

I cried out to the lord, to help me to help him, I was so worried and concerned for him that it was literally making feel very anxious and uptight.

In the bible it teaches us that we need to have self-control, and I felt that my son, no longer even knew how to have any control, let alone self-control.

Pro 25:28

 Like a city whose walls are broken down is a man who lacks self-control.

His walls were broken down, and only God could fix them, I couldn’t fix anything, but I could pray for him. This I did.

Now, here is where the story takes a turn. As I was seeing all of these things manifest themselves in my son, I was running around like a mad woman. I was “doing this and that and everything else” my quiet time with the lord was suffering, as I was “busy”. I had stopped really studying the word, because this needed to be done, or that. I had even stopped writing, which I know God has called me to for this season.

It seemed that every time I turned around there was something, or someone that needed my attention. Then about a month ago, I hit a “wall”, I was exhausted, miserable, and overwhelmed. It seemed that anything anyone asked of me became a huge deal to me, I had pains in my chest and I was feeling the edges of insanity.

It was then that I had cried out to the lord, with all of my woes, telling him how tired I was, and that I was not enjoying my life, that my joy had evaporated and well I was just plain miserable. It was then that I said to the lord, “lord during the year we had been praying about people and their priorities and boundaries” Yes, I did not even get the word out of my mouth completely before I realized what I was saying to the lord.

Thankfully the lord is more gracious than I am smart some days, and he gently showed me that what he had revealed to me about my son, and his lack of boundaries, and not taking care of himself, I had in fact being doing myself. If I could have taken a stick and hit myself at that moment I would have, as I realized that not only had I allowed everyone’s agenda’s and needs and desires to have priority over my life, but in the midst of it, I was not taking care of myself.

I was not cultivating my relationship with the lord, my exercise habits had ceased and many other things I had allowed to slide, all in an effort to be Jesus’s hands and feet here on this earth.

The lord reminded me of something that he had taught me years ago, that “Just because it is a good thing, does not mean it is a God thing”

In other words, just because I could see that something needed to be done, did not mean that it was the thing that God wanted me to do. I needed to stop running ahead of him, and pay attention to what he wanted me to do. What his priorities were for my life, you see I can go build “things” but if it is not built on God and his ways and plans and purposes for my life then one day when those things are tested, the bible says that they will be burnt away like straw as they were not built on the solid rock of God.

In essence there were a couple of lessons that I walked away with from all of this; I needed to stop and ask the lord what his priorities were for my life, I needed to make sure that I put solid boundaries into my life, so that I did not feel like I was being overrun. I needed to do good, but make sure that whatever I did put my hand to, is what God actually wanted me to do and not live in any kind of guilt because I was not being super mom. Another great lesson I learnt was, that if I do my own thing, even if it is a good thing, I will be miserable, as I am not walking in the perfect will of God.

I now had a deeper empathy for the women I see running around me, who like me; feel like they need to carry the full weight of the world on their shoulders. I can pray with greater clarity now, as I understand what a burden it is, to have your walls broken down and no boundaries in place for your protection.

I praise the lord for his grace and love that he stopped my world from spinning out of control and opened my eyes to see the insanity of my actions. Once he had shown me, I repented immediately as I wanted to be rescued from myself and be put back on the right path, one that is illuminated by God as he walks in front of me, and says, “Follow me, and take my yoke upon you, as it is light.”

 

 

 

 

Joy follows obedience

I have had the privilege of walking with the lord for a long time and I never seem to get over the joy I experience when I have done something that I know the lord wanted me to do.

I have heard this expression before, “there is no High, like the Most High” in other words there is nothing more satisfying than walking with God and living in obedience to his will and plans and purposes for your life.

2 John 1:6

And this is love: that we walk in obedience to his commands. As you have heard from the beginning, his command is that you walk in love.

Jesus told his disciples that those who obeyed what he taught them, he would call them friends.

John 14:23

 Jesus replied, “If anyone loves me, he will obey my teaching. My Father will love him, and we will come to him and make our home with him.

I can give you many examples of experiences that I have had that involve obedience, but I would like to share one with you that would illustrate my point.

A few years ago, I was approached by an organization that needed 60 quilts made up and sent to an orphanage in Tanzania. This is no small task. I had asked the lord if this was what he wanted me to do and I felt that I had his approval.

I then proceeded to find fabric at discount prices, I gathered women to help me achieve this goal and set about conquering this mountain.

Yes, that sounds pretty simple, but the obstacles in the way were huge, for instance, I had resistance to this project from “friends” who thought I was crazy for taking this project on. They were not shy in sharing their opinion.

I had also gathered a group of ladies who promised to help me, but when the time came to show up to my home to get started with the project. Nobody showed up for just over a month.

I knew that God had laid this on my heart to do, and I knew that I needed to remain obedient and faithful to the task before me, even though it looked daunting and it seemed like it was not going to come together.

I remember going down to my basement with my sewing machines, and sewing by myself for that first month, faithfully doing what I believed that God had called me to do. I was rewarded for that faithfulness, as God eventually did draw the women in and eventually I had over 20 different people help with the project in various ways.

The satisfaction and joy that I felt at having being a part of that project, I cannot even begin to describe. When the time finally came for the handover of the quilts we had a little party with the women and one of the people who was actually going over to the orphanage to minister to the orphans and to take the quilts to them, told us that in Africa, a blanket is considered like a golden treasure. It is highly valued as it keeps you warm and brings comfort to whomever one. The blankets are normally given to the children by their mothers and since these kids were orphans we as their “mothers” could give them the comfort that they so desperately needed.

This my dear friends made 6 months of very hard work very worthwhile, as we were able to not only give those children a symbol of care but that they would be wrapped in the loving arms of Jesus each time they slept under those much prayed over quilts.

Oh the joy of our obedience was so very deep, that joy came with weeping tears of joy at knowing that we had made a difference in someone else’s life.

So, the next time that the lord prompts you to do something, where it is big or small jump at the opportunity of walking in obedience to his will for your life. The satisfaction and joy that you will receive from doing what he has called you to do, is absolutely priceless.

Philippians 2:12 – 16

 Therefore, my dear friends, as you have always obeyed–not only in my presence, but now much more in my absence–continue to work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.  Do everything without complaining or arguing, so that you may become blameless and pure, children of God without fault in a crooked and depraved generation, in which you shine like stars in the universe as you hold out the word of life–in order that I may boast on the day of Christ that I did not run or labor for nothing. 

God loves it when we obey him and out of that obedience our love for him, is then showered on the people who he intends on blessing.

If I could leave you with one little thought, it would be this,

An attribute of obedience to the will of God is that Joy always follows. It is a joy that floods us as we know that what we are doing is pleasing to the lord.

So my dear brothers and sisters in Christ, go out freely and do what God has called you to do, whether it is ministering to your children, husband, orphans, neighbors or whomever, and remember that our obedience to God will bring him pleasure, and us a deep sense of joy and satisfaction in doing something that has eternal rewards.

 

 

 

Being empowered by the right source

Living by the truth of God can sometimes prove to be a real challenge for those who have ever had problems with insecurity, doubt and fear of man.

Yes, I have just described most of my life, but I want to tell you about the amazing way in which God has not only transformed my thinking and my heart, but he has transformed my life through the power of his Holy Spirit.

When I was young, I lived my life according to a lot of the principles of the prevalent culture of the time. Partying, drinking and living for myself and my desires. My thoughts were that if I could have as much fun as I wanted then it would dull that ache and pain that I felt inside of my heart.

I therefore partied harder; I became increasingly miserable but felt unable to change what I felt to be my lot in life. All of this time however, I had been going to church and I had been learning about God, but up to that point I had not grasped the concept of living for God, by believing in his truth and being willing to be obedient to all that he asked of me.

Then God stepped into my life in a very dramatic way and I was truly saved, I gave my life to him and desired to be more like him. The problem was that even though in the word of God, he had made many promises to me as his daughter, (and for all of his children) I was still in the pit of unbelief.

I call it a pit as it felt like I would sometimes never get out of it. I felt like I was doomed to repeat the same stupid mistakes over and over again.

Then the lord showed me a few verses that have helped me reverse that destructive pattern.

Romans 12:2

Do not conform any longer to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is–his good, pleasing and perfect will. 

Through this verse he revealed to me, that his will for me was that my life need to be transformed, from the old way of doing things to a new way, his way and when I did that I would discover his good and pleasing will for my life. The trick was I had to choose to change my thinking.

I believed that I was stupid, no good, shameful, and had no value to give to the world, but God said otherwise. God said because of my son and his sacrifice on the cross for your sins, you are now a new creature, you have died to the old way of living and have been made new. That newness that you are experiencing is my Holy Spirit living within you; empowering you to live a life that you would not have been able to live without him.

The Holy Spirit comes from God, and his job is to teach us, lead us, and guide us in a real relationship with God. There is no sin or evil within him and therefore we can trust him explicitly to help us to become more Christ Like.

Unfortunately for me, I took a long time to actually believe God, and I believe it did not come from me “not doing enough, or believing enough or God not empowering me enough” It came from a place deep inside of me that I refer to as the unbelief box, and in that box I find crusty old pieces of paper, on which is written lies that I had believed about God and his love and grace that he had extended towards me.

 I had relied on the lies I had been told by others, myself and the enemy that because of my past, I was no longer capable of achieving anything, doing anything, and being anybody. I loathed even the image of myself in the mirror.

Oh how thankful I am for the grace of God and his great love for me.

Philippians 4:13

I can do everything through him who gives me strength. 

God in his great mercy began to show me, that the only way for me to truly walk in triumph with him, was for me to clean out my box of unbelief, and start to renew my mind about who he said I was and what he said that I could do when I placed my trust in him.

I have to admit, that many times when I read the above verse I felt that I needed to feel even more worthless, than I already felt in order for God to work through me and for me to affect the world.

What I came to discover is that, once again, my insecurities were speaking, loud and clear and they were saying that unless you show God you can grovel at his feet you will never be truly humble enough to be used of him.

Yes, I realize that my thinking was warped, because the truth is, that God wants us all to realize that it is him that empowers us to be overcomers in this world. He gives us the power to overcome the lies that we believed. He gives us the power to choose righteous living over the old patterns of sinfulness.

He wants us to realize that it is him who goes in and fights on our behalf and empowers us to come out victoriously in the end, regardless of what we face in this life.

Joshua, before he went into the Promised Land, had the captain of the Lord’s army come in and tell him that he was there, and that the city of Jericho would be delivered into their hands. How was that victory won, not with swords and spears, but with obeying the lord, marching around the city and then giving a great big shout of victory in the end. The walls fell and they were able to go in and finish the job.

That my dear friend is how God empowers us, he wants us to put our trust in him so that He can lead us in triumph always.

2 Corinthians 2:14

But thanks be to God, who always leads us in triumphal procession in Christ and through us spreads everywhere the fragrance of the knowledge of him. 

As a Christian we have to realize that God will always ask us to do things, that are often way out of our comfort zone, and often completely out of our natural ability to achieve, it is in these cases that through his grace and his great love for us, he will empower us to achieve what he desires.

Victory in these situations is not dependent on what we deserve because we are a child of God, but it is all about whom we follow. He is the one with the power and when we trust in him, we truly can do all things through him who gives us the strength.

My prayer for you today is this,

Lord Jesus, thank you for you grace and mercy, thank you that though we are weak, you chose to use us to spread everywhere we go the delightful fragrance of the knowledge of you. Father empower us today to do all that you have called us to do in your name. I praise you Lord.

Amen.

 

Slaying the Giants

 Have you ever felt that what you were facing was way beyond your capabilities to accomplish?

 I most certainly have, I know that God has asked me to do things that I would have liked to turn and run in the opposite direction than have to face what I knew needed to be done.  I am reminded of the story of Gideon.

 The Israelites had once again sinned against the lord and were being disciplined by him. He had sent in the army of the Midianites s to rule over the people. (This not only brought shame to the people but it put them into bondage and servitude to the invading army. Remember, the Israelites were the ones who were to be continuously victorious, if they obeyed the laws of the lord)

 It had gotten so bad that they had to hide the fact that they were even grinding grain for bread.

 Judges 6:1-6

 Again the Israelites did evil in the eyes of the LORD, and for seven years he gave them into the hands of the Midianites.   Because the power of Midian was so oppressive, the Israelites prepared shelters for themselves in mountain clefts, caves and strongholds.   Whenever the Israelites planted their crops, the Midianites, Amalekites and other eastern peoples invaded the country. 

 They camped on the land and ruined the crops all the way to Gaza and did not spare a living thing for Israel, neither sheep nor cattle nor donkeys.   They came up with their livestock and their tents like swarms of locusts. It was impossible to count the men and their camels; they invaded the land to ravage it.  Midian so impoverished the Israelites that they cried out to the LORD for help. 

 They called to the lord for help and he had mercy on them and heard their cries.  In response to those cries he chose Gideon to save the people.

 Give me a moment to set the stage for you; Gideon was a man, who was the least of the least. He was from the weakest clan in Manessah and he was the least of the men in that clan.

 Judges 6:15

 “But LORD, ” Gideon asked, “how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” 

 Some might think that he was the worst person for the job.  To defeat the invading armies you would need a man of good tactical and army background, someone who was sure of himself and his authority. Someone who could lead the Israelites into victory, not the least of the least!

 In situations like this, God wanted to teach the Israelites that it was not their own greatness that would save them, but through picking the weakest member of them all, God was able to show his power and Majesty once again to his children, the Israelites.

 2 Corinthians 12:9

 But he said to me, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me”

 He told Gideon that he was a mighty warrior and that he would be victorious, but Gideon being the weak man that he was, tested God, and argued with him about his abilities to do what God said he would do.

 Jdg 6:12 – 24

 When the angel of the LORD appeared to Gideon, he said, “The LORD is with you, mighty warrior.” 

 “But sir,” Gideon replied, “if the LORD is with us, why has all this happened to us? Where are all his wonders that our fathers told us about when they said, ‘Did not the LORD bring us up out of Egypt?’ But now the LORD has abandoned us and put us into the hand of Midian.” 

The LORD turned to him and said, “Go in the strength you have and save Israel out of Midian’s hand. Am I not sending you?” 

 “But LORD, ” Gideon asked, “how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.” 

 The LORD answered, “I will be with you, and you will strike down all the Midianites together.” 

 Gideon replied, “If now I have found favor in your eyes, give me a sign that it is really you talking to me. 

 Please do not go away until I come back and bring my offering and set it before you.” And the LORD said, “I will wait until you return.” 

 Gideon went in, prepared a young goat, and from an ephah  of flour he made bread without yeast. Putting the meat in a basket and its broth in a pot, he brought them out and offered them to him under the oak. 

The angel of God said to him, “Take the meat and the unleavened bread, place them on this rock, and pour out the broth.” And Gideon did so. 

 With the tip of the staff that was in his hand, the angel of the LORD touched the meat and the unleavened bread. Fire flared from the rock, consuming the meat and the bread. And the angel of the LORD disappeared. 

 When Gideon realized that it was the angel of the LORD, he exclaimed, “Ah, Sovereign LORD! I have seen the angel of the LORD face to face!” 

 But the LORD said to him, “Peace! Do not be afraid. You are not going to die.” 

So Gideon built an altar to the LORD there and called it The LORD is Peace. To this day it stands in Ophrah of the Abiezrites. 

 I would like to draw your attention to something very important in this story, the moral of this story is that God chose a man, who was weak, flawed, worshiped idols and was a bit cowardly to bring about the rescue. It was not his strength that did it, it was God working through him that accomplished the mission.

 So again I ask the question, Have you ever felt that what you were facing was way beyond your capablilities to accomplish?

 Then my friend you are in the perfect place for God to work in and through you, to show his mighty power to those around you and fulfill his will.

 You need to understand, that for us to truly be effective in this world, it is not about our abilities, our accomplishment and our degrees, it is about us being willing to say “Yes Lord, even though I am weak, and cannot do what you have asked me to do, I believe that through your mighty strength at work in my life, I can do all that you have asked me to do.”

 God, will not impose himself on us, we need to be willing to say, “Yes Lord, not my will but yours be done, I am weak but in you I am made strong”

 Gideon eventually did defeat the invading armies, but not with all the men that he had originally summoned, in the end, he had three hundred men that faced a army of many thousands. Yet, he decided to trust God, over what his natural eyes could see, he trusted God in spite of his lack of abilities and God, then worked and defeated the armies.

 There is another story in the bible (there are many) of a young teenage boy, who had been anointed by God, to become the next king of Israel. He was scrawny, not favored by his brothers, but he had the Holy Spirit within him and when his father sent him to the battlefield, he discovered that the Philistine champion Goliath was shouting and uttering threats at the army of the lord.

 The Holy Spirit rose up with in David and he displayed Holy indignation at the gall of this blaspheming Philistine, daring to defy the army of the living God.

He rose up and with the weapons that God had trained him with, a sling and three stones, he defeated the Giant. That giant did not stand a chance against God, and no giant that you ever face will ever be able to stand up to God, ever!

 Beloved sisters and brothers in Christ, God himself is training you up, right now, to be mighty warriors in his army. He is putting weapons in your hand to defeat all of Satan’s tricks, lies and schemes. He is fighting for you, and taking out the enemy in front of you.

 Yes we are weak in our own strength to do anything that God asks us to do, and it is overwhelming and can be completely nerve shattering, but if you would take a moment, and believe the word of God, that says, that it is not your power and ability that can accomplish anything eternal on this earth but God’s alone, then you can walk in complete trust of His power at work in and through your life.

 Remember that God is strong and mighty and able to save completely all who call on him. David called on God, God gave him the strength that he needed and with that power he slew that Giant. With God we will always have the victory over any fear that may arise when he asks us to do anything.

 Allow him today to fill your heart and mind with the truth that with us, it is impossible, but with God nothing is impossible to do.

 Ephesians 1:17 – 23

I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.  I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints,  and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength,   which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.   And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church, which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. 

 The power of God is alive and active within you and I urge you to surrender to him today, allow his power to work through you to powerfully affect the people around you that he has called you to minister to. No more hiding, no more saying I cannot, you new battle cry should be, “Through Christ Jesus and his power which is working in me, I can do all things!”

 Let him Lead you today!

 

 

Learning to walk minute by minute with the Lord

One of the things that’s very near and dear to my heart is the availability of God in our lives.  I am sure that you have heard people say, “God will never leave nor forsake you” “God is everywhere” “He has the whole world in his hands” and more.

These statements are all true, but believing it and living it out are sometimes two different things.

If God is really is here as His word says he is, then I will be able to talk to him and ask him questions and act in every way as I would if I could see him.

Some people might think that you are crazy because it may look like you are talking to yourself, but the reality is that God wants to lead you in a close up and personal way. My responsibility as his child is to be willing to be led by him, and then obey him when he speaks to me.

I have to be honest, on both of these points I have often fallen short of what he required, but the more I willingly laid down my own agenda and the more I laid down my rights and selfish desires, the more I could hear him speak into my heart.

Jeremiah 33:3

 ‘Call to me and I will answer you and tell you great and unsearchable things you do not know.’

The lord wants to open up our understanding in order for us to be able to be led by him completely. Meaning that we have to take him at his word, believe Him when he tells us that we can call on him and ask him things, anything at all, big or small. It is not just talking to him to get things from him, but talking to him because you are in relationship with him. This is what he desires.

I am sure that some of you reading this article have friends who you can share anything with, and you talk for hours, pouring out your hopes, dreams, sadness and everything else, the lord wants to share that role in your life. He doesn’t want to be brought out for special occasions when you need something he wants to have an active role in your decisions and life.

It comes back down to relationship again; God, through the Holy Spirit wants to be in a deep and personal relationship with us.  He wants us to know him as friend, and he wants us to trust him enough to let him lead us in the way that he wants us to go.

One thing I have learnt is that when you talk to the lord it should not be as if you are speaking to someone so high up that you have to use special language just to speak to them, no, all you need to do is talk to him like you would if you were talking to a friend. He will in turn talk to you in the same way, that you will know that it is him that is speaking to you.

God wants to share his thoughts with you, probably even more than what we want to hear his thoughts, so he will always be willing to share what he has for us. We never need to be afraid that we will miss what he is saying because he will always make it abundantly clear.

I lived in fear for a long time of “missing out on what God was trying to tell me and then I would miss out on what he had called me to do” The truth of the matter is, that he says that his sheep will know his voice. There will be no mistaking that it is him that is trying to share something with us.

To learn to hear God speak to you more and more, you have to learn to yield your heart, mind, mouth and spirit to him on a constant basis. In this way, you can not only hear what he is saying to you, but you will be able to share with others and edify them as well.

It does take practice on our part to learn to yield to God in this way, but trust me; it is well worth the effort.

Remember whatever you do not surrender and submit to God for his use in your life, you end up surrendering it to the Devil. Then you will find yourself in bondage. When we do not surrender our thoughts and minds to the lord we end up thinking and saying things that are opposite of what is His best for us.

Therefore, practice daily, by talking to him, praying that he will open up your ears to hear what he has to say, and that he will open your heart to receive the words that he does speak to you. Be attentive and alert to the things around you, as I have found that God will often use people, or something that I have read or even a thought to enter into my mind and I will know that it is him that is talking to me.

Personal story time,

A few years ago, I had come to a crossroads; I needed to make some big decisions and was totally confused as to what to do. I felt if I went one way, that I would betray some people and their trust in me, and the other way would free me of the obligation that I felt was now over.

I struggled, prayed, cried out to the lord, “What do you want me to do?” I spoke to some friends; I did everything I knew how to do to hear what the lord wanted me to do in this particular situation. Then I finally stilled myself long enough to hear the lord say to me, “You have my mind, you know my voice and I have told you want I desire in this situation!” It was like a light bulb had gone off in my head!!!!

I had the mind of Christ

1Corinthians 2:16

 “For who has known the mind of the Lord that he may instruct him?” But we have the mind of Christ”

The lord has graciously given us, his children his mind, so we can be confident when we hear him speak  to us. I now can be confident in my decisions and choices because the lord has given me his mind and filled me with his way of thinking and given me desires that match his will, so when I make a choice and I hear him speak to me, I can move with confidence in the direction that he has for me.

I do want to emphasize something though, to recognize that it is God and not ourselves, when God speaks to us, it will always line up with his word. In other words, if you hear something within you telling you that it is okay to cheat on our taxes or leave your husband or whatever else it probably is not God, as he will never ever lead you into sin.

Learning to walk with God, is not an instant thing that you get to enjoy as a Christian, it takes time and practice as well as the willingness to lay aside ourselves in order to let God through his Holy Spirit, lead and teach us.

If this is not something that you are currently practicing in your walk with the lord today, all is not lost.

Ask him today to give you the desire to walk closely with him, ask him to unplug your ears and fill your heart with the knowledge of his will for your life.

My prayer for you today is this,

I pray that the lord will open up your understanding to know him more, that you will feast on the wonderful treasures that he has for you in this life. That you will grow closer and closer to him, learning to trust him and be led by him moment by moment. In Jesus name I pray

Amen

 

 

The Lazy Servant

 

The Lord has a way of teaching me through my children. They are like little mirrors revealing my shortcomings.  In dealing with one of my children’s attitudes the Lord

taught me a very good lesson about being a diligent servant that I would like to share with you. I must confess that I really didn’t see this in me until the Lord pointed it

out. Most people say that I am a Martha in that I am always busy doing. What is important is that I needed to be about the Lord’s business not my own.

 

The Thursday before thanksgiving I was having trouble getting my twelve year old daughter to do the supper dishes. She kept procrastinating and putting it off, making excuses and busying herself with all kinds of little things. Every ten minutes I would be nagging her to get back to work on the dishes. This went on until bedtime.  Frustrated I went to bed admonishing her that the dishes had better be done by the time I got up in the morning.

   

When I woke up the next morning I found all the pots and pans still unwashed. This

did not help me to be in a cheery mood.  The rule in our house is if you don’t get the

dishes done you are responsible for the next day too. So I noisily roused her out of

bed and told her to finish the dishes and to get packed.  We were leaving for Edmonton

that day and she had not packed her suitcase yet.  Grumbling and complaining it was not her fault that the dishes were not done and that she shouldn’t have to wash the breakfast

dishes too she got up.

 

As I was getting everything ready I noticed my nine year old son in the kitchen.  He was

washing the dishes! Wow! First I asked him if his sister had bribed him into doing the dishes.  He said no, he was already packed with his things loaded in the van and he

wanted to get going.  He knew that we wouldn’t leave until the dishes were done.

 

 His willingness to help even though it wasn’t his job and not looking for any glory or reward made my heart glad.  I wanted to reward him for his unselfishness and diligent attitude. Who do you think I was more pleased with…my daughter or my son?

The scripture about the servant who did only what was expected of them jumped into my mind. Luke 17:9,10 Would he thank the servant because he did what he was told to do?

So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do should say, “We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.”

 

With the dishes finished we started our trip to Edmonton. As we drove I listened to a teaching tape by Dani Johnson.  She was speaking on the parable of the talents.

 Matthew 25:14-30. One sentence in the parable stood out clearly.

You wicked, lazy servant! Matt25:26

This was spoken to the servant given one talent. He had buried it in the ground and

done nothing with it.  What struck me was that Jesus had used the words lazy and

wicked in the same sentence. How often do we equate lazy with wicked? Usually I think

of wicked as a murder or child molester … something along those lines. But I had never

thought that being lazy was wicked!

 

Immediately the scene of the night before and morning played through my mind. I remembered how frustrated and angry I was with my daughter for her lazy attitude.

I felt like she was treating me with disrespect as her mother.

 

Then the Lord reminded me of all the times I had done the same thing to God.

Putting things off with excuses because I didn’t fee like it, grumbling about the tasks

He’d given me to do. I was dishonoring my God and grieving his heart with my disobedience.  With my own lazy attitude revealed I repented before the Lord.

It is my heart to please Him and I wanted his face to smile upon me and not frustrate Him.

 

If the lesson with my daughter wasn’t enough the Lord really drove it home to me

when I arrived in Edmonton with an example from my Nephew.  There where stacks

of undelivered newspapers on the deck.  He had asked to deliver these newspapers but

did not take any action when it came time to fulfill his responsibilities. I felt angry on behalf of the company to see their advertising dollars wasted and disgusted with my Nephew who left this mess on the deck. The papers were already several months old and were starting to disintegrate. My husband volunteered to take them to the dump if my nephew would Google the location of the dump and load them in the truck. Immediately

he started to murmur and complain that this was to hard for him to do. He did not take

advantage of the opportunity to clean up his mess.

 

How often have I asked the Lord for things and not followed through? How often have I

Said “Yes, Lord” and not completed the task? How often have I neglected what the Lord has called me to do? In Webster’s dictionary the word neglect means “to ignore or disregard; to fail to care for or attend to sufficiently or properly; to fail to carry out through carelessness or by intention; leave undone.

 

The lesson learned was that yes lazy and wicked can be equated with each other. I was

a prime example. Now I’m working on cleaning up my mess of uncompleted tasks by God’s grace. Next time I will ask,” What shall I do Lord?” and do it promptly.  

 

Lorraine Jacyszyn

 

You are Blessed!

In the Old Testament the father would gather his children around him before he died and give them a blessing, specifically the sons. The eldest son got the majority of the blessing. The younger sons were often placed in a subservient position to the eldest. That was the culture and I am pretty sure in the eastern culture it is still done the same way.

The father when blessing the son would prophetically speak a blessing over the boy/man about his future, about his offspring’s and wealth. The son I am sure looked forward to this as he would then inherit the estate.

 I also had experienced this when my own parents passed away a few years ago. There was a will, the estate divided and blessings given.

 The greatest blessing that I received from my parents though was the one that said, “We are proud of you and your willingness to walk in obedience to the will of God for your life”. I think that that was by far the nearest and dearest blessing that they could have given me, apart from introducing me to him in the first place.

This got me thinking about the blessings that God gives us, his children and does it have the same effect as that given by a parent to a child.

I would have to say yes and so much more! The blessings that God gives us, his children are eternal, meaning that they will never be taken away and given to another. They belong to us.

So what are those blessings you might wander? Let’s have a look,

Ephesians 1:3

 Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. 

We have been blessed in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing in Christ. I do not think that I have enough time over my lifetime to be able to describe all of the blessings that God has given to us his children. They are binding and will follow us into Eternity.

The blessings and inheritances that are received here on earth fade or dim in time, but God’s blessings to us never will.

The bible teaches us what some of these blessings are,

  • We were chosen before the creation of the world to be Holy and Blameless in the sight of God.
  • Because of his great love for us, we have been adopted to be his sons and daughters through Jesus Christ. This all according to God’s pleasure and will.
  • We have been redeemed through the blood of Jesus Christ (bought back from death)
  • We have been given the forgiveness of sins according to the grace of God.
  • He has made known to us, the mystery of his will, which is Jesus coming to earth, preaching about salvation, dying on a cross, and then raising to life again and in doing that he destroyed death’s hold on the people. God’s will is that no one would die, but that all would come to know him as their savior.
  • We have been chosen by God, and predestined by him according to the plan of him who works out everything in conformity with the purpose of his will.
  • We are for the praise of his Glory.
  • We have been included with Christ
  • We have been marked with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit lives and empower us to live godly lives in righteousness on this earth.
  • He is a deposit that guarantees our inheritance until all have been redeemed in Christ Jesus.
  • We have been given everything that we need to live a godly life here on this earth. We do not lack anything.
  • This was taken from Ephesians 1: 4-16

 I don’t know about you, but know these facts about the blessings that I have received from God, gives me confidence to know that in Christ I truly can do all things that he has set before me to do. My sins have been forgiven, I am rich because I have all of heaven’s spiritual blessings at my disposal and therefore I have nothing to fear.

I can with confidence love deeply, forgive freely, hope and dream big dreams. I can have faith to see people healed and set free from all that holds them in bondage, I can tackle things that appear hard because I know that God’s holy spirit is within me and will enable and empower me to do all of the things I need to do. In Christ I can with confidence bring forth his message of blessings to others as well.

I think the greatest thing that I can do though as a Christian who has been blessed with every spiritual blessing in Christ Jesus, is to live Like I believe it. So often we don’t, we live like paupers who have nothing to give to the world around us. That is so far from the truth.

We are children of the king, anointed and blessed by him, and that blessing then enables us to go out and change the world.

The following verse is my prayer for you today.

 Ephesians  1:17 – 23

 I keep asking that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the glorious Father, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and revelation, so that you may know him better.   I pray also that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened in order that you may know the hope to which he has called you, the riches of his glorious inheritance in the saints, and his incomparably great power for us who believe. That power is like the working of his mighty strength, which he exerted in Christ when he raised him from the dead and seated him at his right hand in the heavenly realms, far above all rule and authority, power and dominion, and every title that can be given, not only in the present age but also in the one to come.   And God placed all things under his feet and appointed him to be head over everything for the church,   which is his body, the fullness of him who fills everything in every way. 

I pray that from this day forward you will start to live your life in such a way that reflects the belief that you indeed have every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms given to you.

Life and death

I received the news last night that my cousin had passed away. It was sudden and totally unexpected, as he was a young man, only 47 years old. I realized once again how fragile life really is, we are here one moment and gone the next. We find ourselves running after things that may seem to be so important but in the end are not as important as relationships, love, kindness, caring and compassion.

On closer inspection of the things that I run after, I realize that some of them just have to get off of my “important list” like saving up money for that all important vacation in a hot tropical place. Or getting some newer clothing, when what I have is still in good condition.

So what is important in life and what should we run after for the short time that we have been given on this planet?

I believe that the first place to start of course is with God.

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life

John 3:36 Whoever believes in the Son has eternal life, but whoever rejects the Son will not see life, for God’s wrath remains on him.”

John 5:24 “I tell you the truth, whoever hears my word and believes him who sent me has eternal life and will not be condemned; he has crossed over from death to life

If I live my life in a way that reflects my belief that Jesus is the Son of God, then my life here on this earth will reflect that and I will live in a way that shows the world that eternity is not imaginary or star trek fiction, but it is real, and we will one day have to face the fact that on earth, I either believed God or I did not.

As a Christian I can count on God’s love and my eternal security.

Then Jesus taught us that we need to love others like we love ourselves. This is often one of the hardest things to do on this earth, to love another person, in a pure way, not a conditional or perverted way, but truly love them, forgiving them when they have hurt or sinned against us, loving them through the good and the bad, and enjoying relationships regardless of how hard they might be.

The bible teaches us what godly love really does look like.

1Corinthians 13:1-8

 If I speak in the tongues of men and of angels, but have not love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal.  If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but have not love, I am nothing. 

 If I give all I possess to the poor and surrender my body to the flames, but have not love, I gain nothing.   Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.  It is not rude, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs.  Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth.   It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.  Love never fails. 

So what other things are important in this life that is good to run after?

I believe that we can find our answer in the bible once again,

We need to learn to walk in reverence and fear of the Lord

Proverbs 1:7

 The fear of the LORD is the beginning of knowledge, but fools despise wisdom and discipline. 

Proverbs 10:27

The fear of the LORD adds length to life, but the years of the wicked are cut short.

Proverbs 14:27

The fear of the LORD is a fountain of life, turning a man from the snares of death.

Proverbs 15:33

 The fear of the LORD teaches a man wisdom, and humility comes before honor.

Proverbs 19:23

 The fear of the LORD leads to life: Then one rests content, untouched by trouble.

As you can see when we have a reverence and fear of the lord he will add length to our lives, he will turn us from the snares of death and sin, he will be our fountain of life, he will teach us wisdom so that we can navigate through life in a proper manner, it will teach us to walk in humility instead of pride. He promises to that we will rest content and be untouched by trouble.

These are but a few examples of the benefits of walking in a way that is pleasing to God for the short time that we are on this earth.

The added benefit of walking with the lord is that we will learn to place our reverence in the right place, often we are more afraid of man, what he will say or do to us that we value there opinion over God’s, I believe that when we give God first place in our lives that we will be able to get all of our priorities in our lives in the proper order as well. Proverbs 29:25

Another priority that God places on our lives while we are here is for us to be his hands and feet to a lost and dying world around us. He wants us to reflect him, so that when people see us, they see him, and his love for them. We do that by believing him, by obey him and by choosing to walk with him over running after worthless things in our lives. As we reflect him we would be wise to tell others about him and what he has done for us in our lives. How he saved and set us free from the sin that dragged us down into the pit, how he healed the hurts in our hearts, how he gave us a clear mind and conscience and how he can do the same for them.

It would be a shame to get to heaven and not have brought anyone with you.

Another thing on the godly priority list I believe would be for me to allow God to break my heart for what breaks his, he hates social injustice, therefore it goes without saying that I as his child should hate it to and fight it always.  God hates it when people abuse others, marginalize them and treat them as objects and not as people, whom he loves and died for.

Another priority is to use my mouth, as a healing balm instead of a sword of destruction. So often the things that we say, often carelessly or thoughtlessly can bring about great destruction, both in our lives and in the lives of other people.  I have tried to train myself up by asking the question, is what I am about to say going to bring life in to the situation or that person’s life or will it bring death. If life I can proceed, if death, I need to rethink what I am about to do.

Another priority for me should be building up my brothers and sisters in Christ so that their walk with the lord is strong and firm and secure. How would I go about doing that? Well we can pray for one another, we can encourage one another to seek the lord and his wisdom in the situations that we find ourselves in. We can be there as a shoulder to cry on or someone to rejoice with. We can meet together on a regular basis and enjoy fellowship, prayer and encouragement.  We can work alongside each other in unity and harmony doing what God has told us to do, and that is to go out into all the world and make disciples of the nations.

As I reflect today on the life and death of my cousin, I realize that there are things in my life that are out of alignment with God’s perfect plan for my life.

I hope that through my reflections about where our priorities in life should be that you will take a few moments and think about where your priorities are.

Is it your priority to own the latest and greatest gadget, or more money? If it is, I pray that you would take a few moments and ask the lord to help you get your priorities straight with him.

If your priorities are to run after your children all of the time and get them into the best clubs, sports teams and so forth at the peril of all the other relationships in your life, maybe it is time to stop and reevaluate your choices.

I could go on all day about our bad choices, but let’s start making a difference today in the choice we make and how we spend our time and where we will spend eternity.

If you find that you fall into any of the above categories, don’t feel condemned, but instead say this little prayer with me.

Heavenly Father,

I come before you today, realizing that I am living for all of the wrong things in this life that you have gifted me with. I pray lord that you would forgive me today, and I ask that from this moment forward that you will help me to live according to your priorities for my life. I thank you heavenly father.

Amen

Therefore, in memory of my cousin Stephen, I dedicate this article to him, I thank him for his contribution to this earth, to the fierce love that he had for his children and that in a lot of ways he taught me about priorities, by going out of his way to show that he cared for you, when he did not have to. Thanks Stephen,

 all my love.