Posted in bible verses, christian living, christianity, Faith, forgiveness, Jesus, love, prayer, redemption

Glorifying God

A life that glorifies God is a life that reveals God

Beth Moore

Image result for please God not manDoes my life glorify God? In all that I say and do, does my life reflect Him? It’s a question I ask myself constantly.

Life can get overwhelming at times, we all know this. And in those difficult times, are we focusing on the Creator rather than the created? Is our focus half-hearted? Or does our light shine before men, oozing out Christ’s love for others?

14 “You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.15 Neither do people light a lamp and put it under a bowl. Instead they put it on its stand, and it gives light to everyone in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.

Matthew 5:14-16

We are called to lead others to Christ. We are called to love these people and show them Christ’s love. After all, Christ died for our sins. He literally took our sin upon Him. Why? Because He loves us so much. He loves us unconditionally and undeservedly.

Does our life glorify God? Or are we just going through the motions, just pretending? Pretending to be on fire for God? Do we act one way around our Christian friends and a completely different way around non believers? How will that bring others to Christ?

Christians are called to walk through the world with the heart of Christ.

Louie Giglio, “Goliath Must Fall”

I struggle with selfishness. I will admit that. But if I’m being honest with myself, being selfish is definitely not Christlike. Unfortunately, while I have selfish tendencies, I also tend to be a people pleaser. Kind of weird, huh?  I struggle with how and what people think about me and strive to please them and because of that I lose my focus on God.  I take my eyes off of Jesus and I start to sink like Peter did when he got out of the boat to walk on the water to Jesus. I should live in a way that pleases God and not man.

Am I now trying to win the approval of human beings, or of God? Or am I trying to please people? If I were still trying to please people, I would not be a servant of Christ.

Galatians 1:10

 

And whatever you do, do it heartily as to the Lord and not to men

Colossians 3:23

Now, as long as we live on this earth we will never be perfect. We will slip up from time to time. But thankfully we have a God who welcomes us back into His arms. His love is that strong. He IS love!

 

 

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Posted in bible verses, christian living, church, forgiveness, grace, prayer

Turning the Other Cheek

When people hurt us….well, it hurts! (I know, super profound there, huh?)

But no, seriously, when people hurt us, it can cause us to lose ourselves for a little bit. We become down and depressed a little, maybe even angry. We sometimes lash out at the person, giving them an earful. (I know I’ve been guilty of this in times past.)

My church has been hurt lately. And there are people who are making sure we know it.  It has caused a great deal of discouragement and a little righteous anger, if I’m being honest. These people don’t seem to realize just how badly it hurts! The negativity they are spreading on social media…..it’s just downright mean!

The human nature in me wants to lash out, to yell, to scream, to retaliate. That’s what Satan wants me to do.

But I’m going to turn the other cheek. In Matthew 5:38-40, it says:

38 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Eye for eye, and tooth for tooth.’[a]39 But I tell you, do not resist an evil person. If anyone slaps you on the right cheek, turn to them the other cheek also. 40 And if anyone wants to sue you and take your shirt, hand over your coat as well.

I don’t understand why this is happening but I do know that God wants me to react in a manner pleasing to Him. He doesn’t want me to give in to my human nature desires.

It’s hard for me, believe me. I am struggling with this very much. I want to comment back so badly. I have so many retorts for them.  But this will not please the Lord. He wants me to rise above. And I’m working on it. It seems that just when I’ve reached a point where I think I’m fine then I see other comments made. I actually had a former church member unfriend me and others from our church. It hurt so badly.

It shouldn’t be this way!! But it is.

And I’m turning the other cheek.

Image result for turning the other cheek

Posted in bible verses, christian living, christianity, Faith, forgiveness, grace, love, redemption

Always Be Prepared

In Our Daily Bread’s devotional reading for today the subject was on how we must demonstrate our faith. We must be ready to give an answer for why we behave differently than the world.

When suffering and hardships come our way, how do we respond? Do we respond with a Christlike attitude? Or do we fall apart?

When people ask us why we are “different” we must be ready to give them an answer and we must do it respectfully and gently.

But in your hearts revere Christ as Lord. Always be prepared to give an answer to everyone who asks you to give the reason for the hope that you have. But do this with gentleness and respect. Keeping a clear conscience so that those who speak maliciously against your good behavior in Christ may be ashamed of their slander. For it is better, if it is God’s will, to suffer for doing good than for doing evil. For Christ also suffered once for sins, the righteous for the unrighteous, to bring you to God. He was put to death in the body but made alive in the Spirit.

1 Peter 3:15-18

People must be able to see a difference in how we act when hardships arise in our life. If not, if we fall apart, how will they see Jesus? If they see us act one way in church and then a completely different way when bad things happen, our testimony is ruined.

I love Jesus with all my heart. I strive daily to please Him in all I say and do. I mess up, yes I’m human, but thankfully I have a God who is a God of second and third chances….and fourth and fifth chances, etc.  He is always willing to forgive and loves me and you so much.

Like I’ve said before, He longs to have a relationship with you. Won’t you come to Him?

Posted in bible verses, christian living, christianity, Faith, forgiveness, Jesus, love, redemption

Philippians 3-Following Paul’s Example

Paul says in Philippians 3:10:

I want to know Christ–yes to know the power of his resurrection and participation in his sufferings, becoming like him in his death.

Many Christians want the first half of this verse. They long to know Christ and his mighty power. But seldom do they think about the second part of the verse–suffering as He did. They don’t want that part.

But to know Christ…..to truly know Christ is to know his suffering. He suffered a bloody death on the cross for US! He was persecuted and shamed and rejected by men. He was mocked, abused and hated by many.

And still……he went through all the torture and abuse for who? Yes, that’s right. FOR US! Because His love is so great for us. His unconditional love for us will never end.

Are we going to suffer the way Christ did? Maybe not. But there are people in the world who ARE tortured and killed for their belief in God.

Paul tells us further in chapter 3 of Philippians to follow his (Paul’s) example:

15 All of us, then, who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. 16 Only let us live up to what we have already attained.
17 Join together in following my example, brothers and sisters, and just as you have us as a model, keep your eyes on those who live as we do. 18 For, as I have often told you before and now tell you again even with tears, many live as enemies of the cross of Christ. 19 Their destiny is destruction, their god is their stomach, and their glory is in their shame. Their mind is set on earthly things. 20 But our citizenship is in heaven. And we eagerly await a Savior from there, the Lord Jesus Christ, 21 who, by the power that enables him to bring everything under his control, will transform our lowly bodies so that they will be like his glorious body.

Did you read verse 20? Our citizenship is in HEAVEN! We need to focus not on earthly things but on things above. Things of God. We are temporary citizens in this world. One day we will be in heaven, living with Christ forever. And ever.

When we get to heaven, our “lowly bodies” will be like his “glorious body!” Our worn down and falling apart bodies will be brand new! There will be NO pain, NO sickness, NO tears! Praise the Lord!

The Lord is coming back soon, people! We need to be ready? A quote I found sums it up:

Live as though Christ will return TODAY!

How is your relationship with Christ?

Are you walking with Him daily? 

If you don’t know Christ as your Savior, please feel free to contact me so I can share with you the Good News! God loves you!

Posted in christian living, christianity, Faith, forgiveness, godliness, grace, Jesus, love, redemption, rest

I Need Thee

Footprints in the sand with the Golden Gate bridge in the background in San Francisco
Photo by Eric Ward on Unsplash

I need thee oh I need thee 
Every hour I need thee
Oh bless me now my Savior 
I come to thee

 

There’s no question about it. I need Jesus every single day. Every single hour. Every single minute. Without Him, I am nothing. I am destitute. I am lost. I am confused.

But with Him, I’m SAVED! I’m a child of the King! I am FREE!

You can have this freedom too! Jesus didn’t just die for me. He died for you as well! He took the nails for us. He took our shame, our sin and bore it on the cross.

And guess what? One day He’s coming back for His children!

One day the trumpet will sound for His coming
One day the skies with His glories will shine
Wonderful day, my Beloved One bringing
My Savior Jesus is mine

He can be yours too! Just turn to Him, confess your sins to Him and believe in Him.

Image result for glorious day casting crowns lyrics

 

Posted in bible verses, christian living, christianity, forgiveness, grace, love

Hurt People Hurt People!

12 Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves with compassion, kindness, humility, gentleness and patience. 13 Bear with each other and forgive one another if any of you has a grievance against someone. Forgive as the Lord forgave you.14 And over all these virtues put on love, which binds them all together in perfect unity.

Colossians 3:12-14

Photo by Joshua Rawson-Harris on Unsplash

I touched on forgiveness back in December but I decided to come back to this topic as it can be very touchy.

 

Forgiveness can be hard. I know this. I have struggled with this. We all have at one point or another. But we are required to forgive! Just as the Lord forgave us we are required to forgive.

I’m doing a forgiveness reading plan on the YouVersion App as part of my devotions this week and came across this quote:

God freely forgives us and gives us eternal life. But he also expects us to extend that same mercy to others, with strict warnings to us if we don’t. A life of judgement, condemnation and unforgiveness is a prison.

Refusing to forgive someone puts us in prison! A prison full of anger and bitterness! We must be willing to forgive! To let go of the anger and bitterness and move forward.

Yes, I know. Some hurts are hard to move on from. But the longer a person stays unwilling to forgive, the longer it will control us. And the longer it controls us, the longer the anger and bitterness remain, causing us to hurt others.

And as the saying goes, “Hurt people HURT people!” We tend to take the hurt we’ve been dealt and lash out towards others. Sometimes these people haven’t even done anything to us but they happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time.

Photo by Štefan Štefančík on Unsplash

Holding a grudge toward the person who hurt you just isn’t right. It isn’t what God wants from us. He wants us to “let all bitterness, wrath, anger, clamor and evil speaking be put away from you with all malice. And be kind to one another, tender-hearted, forgiving one another even as God in Christ forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31:32)

 

Forgive. You’ll feel so free when you do. 🙂

 

Posted in book review, books, christian living, christianity, Faith, forgiveness, godliness, grace, Jesus, love

The Christian Atheist, Chapter 1

Photo by KEEM IBARRA on Unsplash

When You Believe in God but Don’t Really Know Him

Groeschel opens up the chapter with a story from his past regarding the time he met a young woman in college. As he got to know her, he grew more attracted to her and did what he could to impress her. Six months after meeting her, he proposed and 19 years later they are still together and happy as can be.

He uses that story to talk to us about how they know each other. However,

…despite how completely we know each other–even after nearly two decades–our intimacy continues to grow. We’re constantly learning how to connect and communicate deeply.

Believing Versus Knowing

Belief isn’t the same as personal knowledge

Groeschel continues by explaining the different levels of intimacy when it comes to knowing God.

“Some of us know God by reputation

  • We know a little bit about God–we’ve gone to church a few times, heard the Bible stories. We may even have a favorite Bible verse.
  • This knowledge is only secondhand, however

“Some of us know God in our memories.” 

  • “We’ve experienced his goodness, grace and love in the past.

“Some of us know God intimately.”

  • Right here, right now. It is THIS kind of loving knowledge that “God promises when we seek Him”

As we continue to seek God, we’ll grow to know him more and more intimately. When we hear God’s voice, we’ll recognize it instantly.

Not Knowing God

Believing God isn’t all He wants from us

In the book of James, it tells us that even the “demons believe in God, and yet they tremble because they know that they’re relationally separated from Him.”

Groeschel tells us there is more to being a Christian than just believing in God. We must experience God’s love. We must know him intimately.

He explains that growing up, he and his family were what you would call “cultural Christians.” They would go to church on Christmas and Easter. They’d help people in need. They donated canned goods to food drives. They’d pray at Thanksgiving meals.

But that was the extent of it. They knew about God. They didn’t know Him. And because Groeschel didn’t know God, he lived according to his own rules. He did what he wanted, not what God wanted. He didn’t have an intimate relationship with God.

In 1 John 2:3-4, it says,

We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands. The man who says “I know him” but does not do what he commands is a liar and the truth is not in him.”

Harsh, right? Not according to Groeschel. He prefers to think of it as “straightforward and honest.” It is “truthfully spoken by someone who truly cares and wants what’s best for us.

We are created to be living examples of God’s love to a hurting world.

Knowing God can lead to positive lifestyle, but the reverse isn’t true.

Our outward actions alone don’t prove that we enjoy an inward relationship with God.

Groeschel urges us to make an effort to get to know God.

“God is interested not only in our actions but also in our hearts–in particular our attitude toward him.”

We can look good on the outside, make is seem like we love God but if our hearts aren’t there, if our hearts aren’t in the right place then when life is over, Jesus will say to us “I never knew you. Away from me, you evil doers.” (Matthew 7:23)

Not Knowing God Well

In this section, Groeschel writes about when Paul wrote his letter to the Galatians. They had experienced the real, living God but had “recently become trapped in legalism.”

In other words they fell back into their old ways. “They knew God but not well enough to avoid getting sucked back into a life based in the law, rather than in love. In Galatians 4:8-9, it says “Formerly, when you did not know God, you were slaves to those who by nature are not gods. But now that you know God—or rather are known by God—how is it that you are turning aback to those weak and miserable forces? Do you wish to be enslaved by them all over again.”

“In the 21st century, we would be wise to ask ourselves, ‘Is this us too?'”

Do you “sort of” know God?

Knowing God IntimatelyImage result for know God

Then there are those who “know God intimately and serve Him with their whole hearts.”

The psalmist, David, describes in Psalm 63:1-4 his relationship with God. In fact, he says that his experience of knowing the personal God creates a deeper longing for even more intimate knowledge of God.

David writes in the psalm “O God, you are my God” Did you catch that? David calls God “HIS God.” David continues to write, “Earnestly I seek you; I thirst for you, my whole being longs for you.

What is David saying? He’s saying that there is absolutely nothing in this world that can satisfy him. Only GOD can totally satisfy.

Groeschel poses the question, “Have you ever felt that kind of love for someone? Now imagine that with God. Imagine that kind of love

Verse 3 says, “Because your love is better than life, my lips will glorify you.” Better than life? He’s saying ‘If I had the choice–either keep God’s love and see my mortal body die, or lose His love and live–I would choose to die.

Matthew 16:26 says, “What good will it be for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? Or what can anyone give in exchange for their soul?”

Or how about Philippians 1:21, “For to me, to live is Christ and to die is gain.”

What kind of love do you have for God?

Image result for names of GodIt’s All in the Name

What do you call God?

If you know God, you are likely to be far more specific with him and the words you use will reflect your accurate understanding of him.

There are many, many, many names for God.

He’s known as Savior, Healer, Comforter, Fortress, Rock, Strength, Provider, Friend, etc. The list can go on and on.

The Best is Ahead

Groeschel writes that it’s time to “be honest with yourself and with God.

“Do you know Him? If so, how well?

“Has God transformed you? Are you different because of Him? If not, perhaps you’re a Christian Atheist.”

But guess what? God loves you so much and earnestly wants a relationship with you.

If you don’t know Him, you can! “Getting to know God is not difficult and it isn’t about a bunch of rules. Yes, God wants your obedience, but he wants your heart even more.

He says over and over again that if you seek Him, you will find Him.

How do you find God? By reading your Bible. He’s there. Pray. He’s there.

“As you get to know him better, you will change……Instead of living for yourself and for the moment, you’ll live for Christ and for eternity. Your heart will begin to break for the reasons and causes that break God’s heart.

“Get to know God. When you do, you will never be the same.