Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Are You A Good Person?

Are you a good person?  I think we would all like to think that we are genuinely good.  You may have those days where that good side does not always show but overall you are genuinely a good person.  But…. 

Let us take a look at the very beginning.  All the way back to creation.  We see that when God created light, He saw that it was GOOD.  When He created the sea and sky, He saw that it was GOOD.  When God created the land and vegetation, He saw that it was GOOD.  When God created the stars in the sky, the moon and the sun, He saw that it was GOOD.  When God created the living creatures in the water and the sky, He saw that it was GOOD.  When God created the living creatures on the land, He saw that it was GOOD.  But…when “God created man in his own image, in the image of God he created him; male and female he created them…”  “God saw all that He had made , and it was VERY GOOD!  

Do you see my point?  We weren’t just good in the eyes of the Lord, we were considered VERY GOOD.  But where did we stray?  Sin enter the garden and our lives were forever changed.   We made the wrong choice.  That does not mean that we can’t still be good.  Goodness is defined by “the quality or state of being good.”  Goodness is a character trait that each of us should have if we are person of integrity, righteousness, one having virtue and morals.  These are all synonyms of the word and should be a part of our lives if we are to be called followers of Christ. 

Goodness is the sixth fruit out of nine that Paul writes about so it is getting little harder to display each fruit of the Spirit as we get further into the verse.  It is so much easier to show love or joy but when you get to the end of the characteristics is where it gets more challenging.  If we focus too much on the things around us, we lose sight of God.  We become wrapped up in our own little bubble that we don’t want anyone to get to close in anticipation of our bubble being burst.  When we do this we are not being what God created us to be.  We were created to be relational, not just with God but with others around us.  God is good and he longs to pour out His goodness to his children.  There are many references to this in scripture.  Take the time today to read more about His goodness.  

We are all a work in progress and should continue to strive for being more like Christ each and everyday.  When others are able to see the fruit of the Spirit in us then it becomes more evident of our salvation.  They begin to see that we have a personal relationship with Jesus Christ.  

Prayer: Father, when you first created man, you said it was very good.  Because of sin we were torn away from that perfect relationship with You.  Change me from the inside out so others may see your goodness pour forth.  Change me so that I may be one step closer to having that right relationship with you.  I know that we won’t fully be in right relationship with you until we get to heaven but until then continue to do a work in me.  In Jesus Name I pray, Amen.  

Ephesians 5:22; Genesis 1:1-31

Thursday, January 22, 2015

Yesterday, I Made Someone Stumble

Yesterday, I Made Someone Stumble

2 Corinthians 6:3-10

As I continue to dig deeper into the characteristics of Christ, oh how I realize that I am a serious …


 Just yesterday I made someone stumble in their walk.  I can honestly say that I probably cause someone to stumble in their walk everyday because of my actions.  Don’t get me wrong.  My actions are not bad like stealing or murder but not being Christ-like to my children is just as bad.  However, when we sin it doesn’t matter the sin.  It is still sin in God’s eyes.  We are the ones who put it on a scale of severity.  

Do you ever notice that you tend to have less patience with those closest to you?  You tend to expect more from them than you do your co-workers.  You want them to be able to read your mind at all times.  Well, life doesn’t work that way, unfortunately.  Paul writes in 2 Corinthians 6:3 about his hardships.  He tells us that “we put no stumbling block in anyone’s path, so that our ministry will not be discredited.”  Looking at the past week, is your ministry being discredited?  We all have a ministry.  If you call yourself a Christian, then you are also called to be a missionary, so you have a ministry.  If you don’t know what it is take time today asking God what it is He wants you to do for Him.  It may be in your home, your work place, your child’s school or sports team.  It could be in your neighborhood or even in your church.  

Paul goes on to say in verses 4-10 4Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.”  We are called to be different than the world and with that comes a commitment to God.  We are to be intentional everyday in our actions.  We must be mindful of what our actions say to those around us.  

Yesterday, I made someone stumble …. 

my children.  

My actions towards them was not Christ-like.  I fussed at them because I was trying to get something done.   They were bored.  They said they had nothing to do.  I find that I am less patient when I have a list of things to do and feel pressed to get them done.  And in all reality, those things needed to be done yesterday.  BUT, I should not have fussed at them like I did.  Do you ever have those moments that it comes out of your mouth in such a way that the look on their little faces says it all?  Maybe the majority of people do the same thing but I want to be different than the majority.  Do you?

So today, when you are in a stressful situation think about how you should respond to those around you.  Will you show patience in that situation?  Will you be able to handle the difficult situation involving someone else without making demands or conditions?  In Romans 12:12, we are to “be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.”  Persevere today!  Don’t cause someone to stumble!  

Prayer: Father, help me to think before I react today.  I know that there will be times today that I will encounter a difficult or stressful situation, bring to mind the words of Paul.  May I not be a stumbling block to those around me.  In Jesus Name I Pray, Amen. 

Monday, January 12, 2015

Are You Like Jesus?

Are you like Jesus?

Galations 5:22-23
22But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23gentleness, self-control; against such things there is no law. 

Are you like Jesus?  This is a good question for everyone to ponder and not just once in their life but daily.  

When you look at your life do you see Jesus?  Do others see Jesus in you?  Sometimes we get so focused on our “to-do” list for the day or week that we loose sight of the ultimate goal.  We have zoned in on what needs to be done today that we don’t realize what is going on around us.  But in reality we need to open our eyes to the true needs around us.  

Those needs that God wants us to see.  
Those needs that can be met by God using us.  
Those needs are the things that should be at the top of our “to-do” list.  

When we put that focus off of ourselves and put it on the needs around us, people will begin to see Jesus in us.  

When we begin to look at the characteristics of Jesus we can find so many to begin to emulate.  In Galations 5:22-23, it speaks about the Fruit of the Spirit.  Now remember the Spirit is Christ, so these are the fruit that pour forth from Christ that we can begin to emulate.  I have touched on these two verses before but in case you did not read that post let me remind you what I said.  “They are listed in an order that I find most interesting.  It is easy for me to love and more difficult for me to have self-control.  You see love is the first fruit we should display.  God knows that it is more difficult to show any of these without Him.”  When God gave the 10 commandments to Moses, we can see that the first four commandments are about loving God and the last six are about loving others.  When Jesus came to live among men, he was asked by the Sadducees which of these commandments was more important.  Jesus told them that we are to LOVE God with all our heart, soul, and mind and the second was to LOVE our neighbors as ourselves.  (Matthew 22:35-40)  

LOVE is what it is all about.  
Without LOVE we can do nothing.  

Do you show LOVE to others everyday?  Not just those in your family or circle of friends but to those around you that are hard to LOVE.  You know that you have those people in your life.  They are the ones who challenge your walk daily.  They seem to test your patience, your self-control.  Really they probably test all the fruit listed in todays scripture.  But I feel God uses them in our lives for a reason.  For us to begin to really work on displaying the fruit of the Spirit in our everyday lives.  For us to learn to LOVE as Christ loves.  To learn to realize that we can do nothing apart from Him.  

So today, I pray that you will begin to show LOVE to others so that others will Jesus in you.  

Prayer:  Father, You know my heart.  You know where I struggle in showing love to others around me.  Open me eyes so that I may see those struggles.  Help me to begin to change so that I can be more like You.  Help me to take that first baby step towards being able to show all the fruit of the Spirit everyday.  In Jesus Name I Pray, Amen.  

Thursday, January 8, 2015

The Good Life

The Good Life?  

Earlier yesterday, I came across a link to a book that has just recently hit the stands, Living Well, Spending Less by Ruth Soukup.  This book has intrigued me because as foreign missionaries, we are constantly trying to live well and spend less.  We have to raise our own monthly living expenses as well as our ministry expenses, so we are truly relying on Faith.  

Faith in knowing God will provide for all that He would have us do this year. 

We have to be good stewards of the money He gives us.  Not only is this a good habit but this is what God instructs us to do.  So on to my two cents worth about the video I watched yesterday.  

In this video she was talking about the good life and what it use to mean to her and what it means to her now. Now remember, this is just my opinion so take it for that, just someones opinion.  She is on the right track about saying that 

Secret #1:The good life is not what we think it is.  

She shares that it is not about what we have but who we are. I just want to take it a step further and say not just who we are but whose we are.  

I AM A CHILD OF THE KING and a good life for me is defined in my relationship with Jesus.  If I am obediently walking daily with Him and striving to bring glory and honor to Him each day, then to me this is the good life.  The author shares about her spending habits and how they had gotten so out of hand that she and her husband were fighting all the time.  She was trying to console herself through shopping.  They decided to have separate bank accounts and that she would get a certain amount each month.  When the money was out, it was out until the next month.  Well, she began her blog to hold herself accountable because she felt she was not “a money saving expert, she was a money spending expert.”  

Can you relater to her?  Have you found yourself at a point in your life that you felt that the only thing that would console you is things? 

Luckily, during the last two years her mindset changed.  She realized that there wasn’t as much that she wanted and she realized that the good life was not about how much stuff she had.  It was about who she was.  I touched on this a little above but I want to go deeper here.  Now if I have not said this yet,  I have not read the book or have I received the other 11 secrets within The LWSL 12 Secrets Challenge so she may go deeper.  If we profess to be Christians then we must be different than the world.  I am not saying that you can’t have things or money but it is what you do with your things and money that makes the difference.  Are you serving the Lord with what He has given you?  Is your home a place that glorifies Him?  

It is about learning to live each day bringing Glory and Honor to Him, no matter what you have been given.  Ruth adds that “We must learn to control the love of money and things or it will consume us”…right on target but lets take it deeper by looking at scripture about this.  In God’s word he gives us clear instructions about how to handle money.  Here are a few scriptures about money:

[ The Folly of Riches ] He who loves money will not be satisfied with money, nor he who loves abundance with its income. This too is vanity.

For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.

Does money make you have the good life?  

What is the good life?  

Each of us will define the good life differently and I am not here to make someone feel bad for having money.  It is what we do with our money that matters most.  When Jesus wanted to teach others he spoke in parables.  We see in Matthew 13:10-17 a perfect example. 

“10 And the disciples came and said to Him, “Why do You speak to them in parables?” 11 [d]Jesus answered them, “To you it has been granted to know the mysteries of the kingdom of heaven, but to them it has not been granted. 12 For whoever has, to him more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but whoever does not have, even what he has shall be taken away from him. 13 Therefore I speak to them in parables; because while seeing they do not see, and while hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand. 14 [e]In their case the prophecy of Isaiah is being fulfilled, which says,
‘[f]You will keep on hearing, [g]but will not understand;
[h]You will keep on seeing, but will not perceive;
15 For the heart of this people has become dull,
With their ears they scarcely hear,
And they have closed their eyes,
Otherwise they would see with their eyes,
Hear with their ears,
And understand with their heart and return,
And I would heal them.’
16 But blessed are your eyes, because they see; and your ears, because they hear. 17 For truly I say to you that many prophets and righteous men desired to see what you see, and did not see it, and to hear what you hear, and did not hear it.

Matthew 25:29  
29 “For to everyone who has, more shall be given, and he will have an abundance; but from the one who does not have, even what he does have shall be taken away…”

Luke 12: 47-48
47 And that slave who knew his master’s will and did not get ready or act in accord with his will, will receive many lashes, 48 but the one who did not know it, and committed deeds worthy of [x]a flogging, will receive but few. From everyone who has been given much, much will be required; and to whom they entrusted much, of him they will ask all the more

So again, the question to ponder today is: 

What is the good life?  

What defines you either having the good life or not? 

Does money make you have the good life?

Prayer: Father, show me what it means to truly have the good life.  Open my eyes to your will for my life.  Help me to bring glory and honor to you each and everyday.  Thank you for what you have provided to me, may I use it to bring glory and honor to you.