Tag Archives: christianity

What’s Required of Me?

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“Everyone to whom much was given, of him much will be required.”

Luke 12:48b (ESV)

I’ve often heard that whisper from God.

While worshipping and praising God at a concert recently, my heart was focused on Him. Once again that whisper came, “To whom much is given, much is required.”

“What’s required Lord?” I asked. “What does this mean?”

He spoke to my heart, “What have you been given?”

Lord, You’ve given me grace beyond measure, forgiveness for my sins, knowledge of your truth, and your everlasting love. You’ve given me physical well-being, health and always meet my daily needs. You’ve given me opportunities to learn and grow, people who love me, and freedom to worship you. I’ve received love, joy, peace, forgiveness, grace, and truth and I’ve learned to trust you.

If you’ve been given grace, give equal grace to others.

If you’ve received forgiveness, forgive others more.

If you’ve been encouraged, be quick to encourage.

If your physical needs are met, meet the needs of those around you.

If you know the truth, share the truth.

If you are loved, then love freely.

If you are strong, help those who are weak.

I believe what’s required of me is to let all these blessings flow through me to others. To those around me who need grace, forgiveness, encouragement, a meal or daily needs.

This isn’t something I can do on Sunday morning or Tuesday evening and then I’ve met my requirement. This is a way of living.

This is an attitude, an outlook, a way of being.

It’s a change of focus.

A change from focusing on me to focusing on the Lord Jesus Christ. It is abiding in His love.

I wish I could say I’m living this way everyday. I hesitate to even write this because I’m so far from living this every day. I want to live focusing on Jesus and serving Him but I can’t do it in my strength. Awareness is the beginning. Change comes one day at a time. One step at a time. It requires abiding in Jesus. Living continually in His presence. I feel like I fail at this kind of loving. I know God loves me unconditionally and always will. I want to finish this life strong. I don’t want to have regrets. Please pray for me that I, who have been given so much, will respond in kind.

Help me take the next step Lord.

“We must help the weak and remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he himself said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:35b (ESV)

“Seek the LORD and his strength; seek his presence continually!” Psalm 105:4 (ESV)

“Abide in me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit by itself, unless it abides in the vine, neither can you, unless you abide in me.” John 15:4

“So we have come to know and to believe the love that God has for us. God is love, and whoever abides in love abides in God, and God abides in him.” 1 John 4:16 (ESV)

 Originally published at Internet Cafe Devotions

 

 

 

 

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There is Hope

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My dad went to be with Jesus in 2000. One of the last times I saw him alive was on a visit I made to the VA home where he lived in another state. I was only able to visit him there two or three times a year. He had been in the home about four years and he hated it. As a former reformatory guard, he referred to it as “lockdown”. But my mom was no longer able to work and take care of him by herself. I wanted so much to encourage him somehow and on this visit I felt the urge to share these verses:

“Let not your hearts be troubled. Believe in God; believe also in me. In my Father’s house are many rooms. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, that where I am you may be also.” John 14:1-3 (ESV)

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Looking at my mom, he choked, “Did you hear what she said”? He was blessed and encouraged. He would not be stuck in that bed forever. Jesus was preparing a better place for him.

This world is a place of suffering. We may have moments, even days when we are personally free of suffering. But truthfully, with how the world has shrunk so that we know what is happening around the world instantaneously, suffering confronts us hourly if not by the minute. Suffering in this world is a reality and has been since the day Adam and Eve sinned.

Our encouragement, our hope is in knowing it won’t be this way forever. Even if we live into our hundreds, life on this earth is short. Those who believe in Jesus will then live with Him for eternity free of suffering. Someday, He will return to earth and those still alive on earth will see the end of evil and pain.

The tragedy is for those who never know or do not believe that Jesus paid for our sins on the cross and set us free and then enter into eternity without Him.

The longer I live, the faster the days go by. Life on this earth is fleeting. Even if I manage to have a life of ease and comfort it won’t last long.

“For you are a mist that appears for a little time and then vanishes.” James 4:14b (ESV)

I feel it.

The longing we each have in our hearts for a perfect place free of pain and sorrow will be fulfilled in heaven.

“If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.” Romans 10:9-10 (ESV)

Believe in Jesus. Believe He died for your sins and rose again.

“For ‘everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.’” Romans 10:13 (ESV)

Believe in Him and know you will spend eternity in perfect joy.

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Originally published at Takin It To the Streets

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Pure Light

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There is NO darkness in God!

I love this verse and the picture it paints. God is pure light. There is no darkness, no hidden deceit, no malicious intent, and no evil in the LORD God. we can TRUST Him even when things look dark and scary. Even when we face painful trials. we can trust He will make all things right in the end.

I believe in you Father! I believe you are good and your ways are holy. I know you are trustworthy and your loving-kindness never fails. Thank you that there is no darkness in you. Help me to walk in the light always. Help me to walk with you as you are the light.

 

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Looking for the Garden of Eden

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“And the LORD God planted a garden in Eden, in the east, and there he put the man whom he had formed…Then the LORD God said, ‘It is not good that the man should be alone; I will make him a helper fit for him’…And the man and his wife were both naked and were not ashamed.”

Genesis 2:8, 18, 25 (ESV)

Aren’t we all searching for the Garden?

Deep in our souls we know that’s where we belong.

Walking with our Father.

Sharing our heart.

Worshiping Him.

Praising Him.

Knowing His love.

Love, perfect, complete

 

“So when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was to be desired to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate, and she also gave some to her husband who was with her, and he ate.”      Genesis 3:6 (ESV)

Yet, she was tempted.

She wondered if there was more.

She had everything.

No need unmet.

Unconditional love.

Complete acceptance.

Walking perfection.

Pure heart.

Untainted mind.

And she wanted more.

Perfection reached out for more.

“Therefore the LORD God sent him out from the garden of Eden to work the ground from which he was taken.” Genesis 3:23

She lost the Garden.

She lost perfection.

She lost everything.

Except what was most important.

Unconditional love.

His love cannot be thwarted.

 

His Son took on flesh to mend what was broken.

His Son suffered and died to restore that walk.

Jesus restored what was lost.

“He has delivered us from the domain of darkness and transferred us to the kingdom of his beloved Son, in whom we have redemption, the forgiveness of sins.” Colossians 1:13-14 (ESV)

By His grace we can walk with the Father.

Share our heart.

Worship Him.

Praise Him.

Know His love.

Not perfect but forgiven.

 

The tempter still comes.

He still whispers there’s more.

And we choose sin.

“But each person is tempted when he is lured and enticed by his own desire.” James 1:14 (ESV)

But those redeemed by Christ can never be snatched away.

Belief in Jesus seals us in Him forever.

We can walk with him in heavenly glory.

By faith if not by yet by sight.

“For we walk by faith, not by sight.” 2 Corinthians 5:7 (ESV)

“In him you also, when you heard the word of truth, the gospel of your salvation, and believed in him, were sealed with the promised Holy Spirit, who is the guarantee of our inheritance until we acquire possession of it, to the praise of his glory.” Ephesians 1:13-14 (ESV)

     I’m like Eve. Even though I have all I need, I still hear that whisper…Don’t you want more? More comfort? More stuff? First place? More time to yourself? More entertainment? More, more, more… just do what you want. Indulge yourself. Yet, what I truly need is always available. My Father is listening; He’s right beside me. When I walk with Him by faith and look to Him to fill the emptiness in my life…He’s enough.

We all want more. But what we need is Jesus. He’s right there waiting to fill our need if we’ll reach out in faith. Let’s reach out to Him and rest in our Father’s love.

Originally published at Internet Cafe Devotions

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I’ll take instant maturity, please.

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Grinning with pleasure, I watched my newly planted butterfly garden. The bold yellow of the Yarrow and the vibrant orange of the Blanket flowers were a great beginning, but I longed for all the green to turn to blossoms. I rushed out each morning, excited to see new blossoms but nothing seemed to change.

Gardening brings a great lesson in patience. Hoping for growth, we plant seeds or small plants where they will get sun, adding soil, food and water. It takes weeks, months or in some cases a year or more to get full benefit of our labor. We must trust the food, water and sun to bring the seeds to full growth.

Spiritual growth is the same. When I read an inspiring verse or book or hear an insightful sermon, I want the maturity offered right now. I read about loving others with all my heart and wonder the next day why I’m rude and uncaring. I learn about the power of thoughts and keeping them focused on truth and want victory that minute. Like my butterfly garden, spiritual maturity comes with time and the right conditions for growth.

“But the seed on good soil stands for those with a noble and good heart, who hear the word, retain it, and by persevering produce a crop.” Luke 8:15 (NIV)

   Perseverance produces a crop. If I want growth, I prepare my heart with prayer as I would prepare the soil. Letting the Holy Spirit break up the hard clods of sin. I plant the seeds of truth in the soil of my heart by reading and meditating on Scripture. I drink from His living water, yielding to the Holy Spirit. I spend time in His presence and His light shines on me like the sun warming my heart and bringing the seeds to life. As I listen and obey, those seeds grow and produce fruit. But like my garden this takes time and patience, daily care and trust that the fruit will come. If I apply food, water and light, my garden will grow. When I pray, read Scripture, stay in God’s presence and obey His leading, over time spiritual maturity will come.

I few years ago, after struggling to be consistent with daily Bible reading, I was introduced to the SOAP method of Bible Study. With excitement, I made it a priority every morning. After a few weeks, I wanted to see change. God helped me to see that change comes as we make these choices day by day.

It’s what we do everyday that changes us over time.

I realized I would have to be patient and faithful and trust the power of His word to work in me.

“Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Galatians 6:9 (NIV)

“Be patient, then, brothers and sisters, until the Lord’s coming. See how the farmer waits for the land to yield its valuable crop, patiently waiting for the autumn and spring rains.” James 5:7 (NIV)

Do you wish for instant maturity? I know I do.

     If we will persevere and keep studying, praying and applying His word as we seek to know Him better, maturity will come. Just as one day I will walk out and see a garden of beautiful flowers, there are days when I get a glimpse of His word producing fruit in my life.

Keep going! Persevere. The fruit will come!

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Originally published at Internet Cafe Devotions

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Take One Step

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 “Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” James 4:7-8 (ESV)

 

I have to make some choices here. I have to choose to submit to God. I choose to draw near to Him. When I do, He promises to draw near to me.

If we take one step towards God, He meets us.

I have to choose to resist the devil, just resist. Submit to God, oppose the devil. It doesn’t say I have to defeat the devil in my strength. Just resist. Don’t just give in or follow blindly along. Don’t just accept his lies.

RESIST.

Draw near to God. Cleanse and purify my heart. Be single-minded in seeking God.

Father, thank you that you love me so much. Thank you that in your strength it is possible to resist the devil. Thank you that you always meet the one who steps toward you. I want to submit to you, dear Father. I want you to have all my heart. Please help me resist the evil one today.

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Is there any hope?

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Life is hard.

Marriages broken.

Marriages full of pain.

Children in rebellion.

Children hurting themselves.

Senseless murders.

Fear in the streets.

Jobs lost.

Finances in ruin.

Loved ones lost to death.

Parents aging.

We are aging.

Chronic illness.

Chronic pain.

Terminal disease.

Dreams die.

Addictions abound.

Perversity reigns.

War threatens.

Is there no end?

Where is the safety?

Where is the “happily ever after”?

Will it ever come?

Not on this earth.

Here we groan in labor.

Here we are under the curse of sin.

Only in heaven will we know the happy ever after we long for.

God will make all things right.

In heaven, there will be no more pain for all eternity.

Jesus came to show us the way to that paradise.

We must believe in Him.

There is no other way.

We cannot make our own way to heaven.

“Jesus answered, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me.” John 14:6 (NIV)

Jesus offers…

Grace for today.

Eternal security.

Treasure in heaven.

Forgiveness for sin.

Hope for tomorrow.

Comfort in sorrow.

Peace in pain.

Strength in weakness.

Perfect love.

Thanksgiving for worry.

Faith for fear.

Mansions above.

Victory below.

His presence always.

How?   

We believe in Him. 

Jesus is our hope.

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Excerpt from Amazing Hope: A 40-day Devotional by Susan Aken

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