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Your Life: Make It Count!

No matter where you are, what you do, or who you are, Christ can use you today, if you seek Him.
God created all mankind for His purposes, His design; built to last an eternity. 
You have opportunities every day to impact the lives of others through faith, hope, and love.  When you interact with others, you can help them see those God-given attributes…or you can deny Christ and show them impatience, pessimism, and anger.
You don’t have to be famous or renowned to be influential.  As a child of God, you have been given the power by the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to make a difference in this world.
In Matthew 5:13 Jesus says, “You are the salt of the earth.”  Salt is a preservative that only works when it penetrates into food.  If it’s contaminated with other chemicals, it is useless.
As a Christian, you must penetrate society while keeping yourself from becoming contaminated  by sin and deemed useless.
Realize your worth in Christ and seek the His direction in making your life count!
1 Peter 2:9, 11-12, But you are a chosen race, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a people for his own possession, that you may proclaim the excellencies of him who called you out of darkness into his marvelous light.
“Beloved, I urge you as sojourners and exiles to abstain from the passions of the flesh, which wage war against your soul. Keep your conduct among the Gentiles honorable, so that when they speak against you as evildoers, they may see your good deeds and glorify God on the day of visitation.”
You were created as His workmanship for a lifetime of good works.  Make your life count by demonstrating the powerful presence of Jesus as you reflect faith, hope, and love in this fallen world.
Your Life: Make It Count!

Shine Your Light!

Jesus said, “You are the light of the world.”
Matthew 5:14-16, “You are the light of the world.  A city set on a hill cannot be hidden; nor does anyone light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on the lampstand, and it gives light to all who are in the house.  Let your light shine before men in such a way that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father who is in heaven.”
We have an opportunity every day to let the light of Jesus illuminate our lives in such a way that His presence is known to others around us.
There are opportunities on the job or in everyday situations to Shine Your Light in this dark world.  Because of the indwelling Spirit of the Lord, you can be a source of hope, joy, love, peace, and truth in the lives of others.
As a Christian, you must be careful not to dim your Light with choices or actions that do not reflect the Light of Jesus.
The presence of light in dark place is unmistakable. The presence of Christians in this world should be like a light in the darkness in two ways; our good works should be evident for all to see and truth of God’s Word shines light on the darkened hearts of sinful people.
Abide in Christ daily and He will use you to reflect His Light in all the dark places around you.
Shine Your Light and glorify Your Father!

Get Out of Your Comfort Zone

Two of the greatest enemies of the church in America are complacency and affluence of Christians. 
Christians can become complacent when they preoccupy or devote the majority of their time meeting personal needs without balancing time to reach others.
As a Christian, you are called to look out to the fields and see that the harvest is ready!  Then you must go so you can reach others as the Lord has commanded.
After Jesus meets a Samaritan woman, she departs to the city to gather her family and share with them about a “Man” who told her everything she ever did.  
Meanwhile, the disciples urge Jesus, to eat…
Jesus’ reply;
John 4:34-35, My food is to do the will of Him who sent Me and to accomplish His work. 35 Do you not say, ‘There are yet four months, and then comes the harvest’? Behold, I say to you, lift up your eyes and look on the fields, that they are white for harvest.”
Following Christ requires getting out of your comfort zone.  It means you will have to deny self and turn away from worldly wisdom which teaches you to focus on personal satisfaction and comfort.
As tough as it may be (at times) to shift your focus off of self; looking to Jesus and following His plan is the only way you will ever get out of your comfort zone. 
No matter where you live, there will always be physical, emotional, and spiritual needs, but we must look to Jesus and seek to do His will.
Get Out of Your Comfort Zone!

Clarity; He Will Do It

He Will Do It 1 Thess 524
Is there something you have been praying about for a while, but your request has gone unanswered?
The Bible provides great insight in how we should approach such requests.
1 Thessalonians 5:16-18, “Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, in everything give thanks; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.”
As you seek the Lord and get guidance by the Holy Spirit, you will become more aware of God’s purpose and plan.    Regardless of the circumstance, you should maintain a faithful prayer life.  God will provide an answer to your prayer in His time.
If you look back to David’s life, God anointed Him king over Israel when he was a boy. Yet David did not become king until years later. 
Doubt can become the breeding ground of worry and diminishing faith. 
God may promise you something, but you may have to wait for Him to bring it to completion. (Philippians 1:6) 
David wasn’t anointed and instantly ready to handle the kingship.  He had to be molded and shaped the way God wanted before the promise was fulfilled.  He became king in God’s perfect timing.   
Instead of living in a state of confusion, uncertainty, and fear, you can enjoy the peace of God as He sanctifies you; your whole spirit, soul, and body so that you be found blameless at the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.(1 Thessalonians 5:23)
He will do what He said He’s going to do!  Continue to rejoice always and pray without ceasing…
“He who calls you is faithful, He will do it.”  (1 Thessalonians 5:24)

The Lord’s Provisions

So many things that we deal with on a daily basis we can’t change;  the weather, environment, how other people may treat us.  But you can have a say in how you will respond to whatever comes your way. 
You can let frustration and irritation  rule your day, or you can give thanks to the Lord for the His blessings and push ahead with the hope you have in Jesus.
Philippians 4:10-13, “But I rejoiced in the Lord greatly, that now at last you have revived your concern for me; indeed, you were concerned before, but you lacked opportunity. 11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am. 12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need. 13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.”
When you have an attitude of thanksgiving and praise, it will help you to look ahead with hope and peace.  The Lord will provide you with everything you need.  He will even help you accept the things that are out of your control. 
The word content in Greek means “self-sufficient.”  The Apostle Paul wanted the people in Philippi to know the joy of serving Jesus and the true source of contentment.  Many believed that it came from personal sufficiency. 
Paul wrote the letter from prison and wants to make clear that true sufficiency is found in Christ.  
It is the Lord who provides and teaches you how to be content in all circumstances.
He is Jehovah Jireh, our Provider!  Just as He provided a sacrifice to save Isaac, and that action was a foreshadowing of the provision of His Son for the salvation of the world; He will give you the strength to be content in all situations.
Praise the Lord!  Thank You Lord for Your Blessings!

Breaking the Root of Bitterness

Gnarled Tree Roots --- Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Gnarled Tree Roots — Image by © Royalty-Free/Corbis

Bitterness is a resentful mistrust that can result in an intense hostility towards others. 
The Bible teaches us to“get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice.” (Ephesians 4:31)
Bitterness will cause you to willfully hold on to angry feelings, take offense toward others and lead you to break out in anger at any moment.  The greatest danger in succumbing to bitterness is that it will eventually rule your heart and move you to place of refusing reconciliation.
Bitterness will lead to wrath and ensnare you by the the evil one.  That’s why it is so important to break the root before it causes trouble.
Hebrews 12: 13-15, “Pursue peace with all men, and the sanctification without which no one will see the Lord. See to it that no one comes short of the grace of God; that no root of bitterness springing up causes trouble, and by it many be defiled;”
Jesus was very specific about forgiving those who have hurt or wronged you because He does not want you to become ensnared by bitterness.
But I say to you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you. (Matthew 5:44)
No matter how difficult your situation may be, the Lord is with you and He desires for you to turn to Him, instead of settling the score. 
Even the most terrible situations can become something that God will use for His glory; but it must start with turning to Him.
Praying for those who hurt you is not saying you agree with their actions or that you are okay with being mistreated. However, when you turn your focus to Christ, He will be your source of healing and strength.
You must always be wary of allowing “bitter roots” to grow in your heart because they will cause you to fall short of the grace of God.
God’s will is that His people live in love, joy, holiness, and peace with others.
If you are bitter about a situation, deal with it!  The Lord can remove your bitterness…turn to Him!

The Battle of Identity

battle of identity
Romans 7:18-20, For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh; for the willing is present in me, but the doing of the good is not.  For the good that I want, I do not do, but I practice the very evil that I do not want.  But if I am doing the very thing I do not want, I am no longer the one doing it, but sin which dwells in me.”
There are two identities that are in conflict with each other among every believer; one that is fleshly and one that is spiritual.
Being fleshly involves a conflict that causes you to do the things that you do not want to do. 
Although you may desire to do good, something within you (sin nature) produces evil.
As a believer, the deepest desire of your heart should be to know and serve God.  However, if you get caught up in your own plans and self-effort, you will never experience the power of the Spirit.
The Spirit will guide you through the patterns of the old self so that you can walk in your identity in Christ.
Even though believers in Christ become new spiritual creations, there isn’t a switch that automatically transforms bad habits, behaviors, and emotions.
Only by the power of the Spirit will you find deliverance from the body of death (sin nature).
Guidance by the Spirit will allow you to handle the clash between spirit and flesh so that you can turn away from the things that you know you shouldn’t be doing.
Make a choice daily to submit to the Spirit and He will provide you with peace and strength in all circumstances.
Who can deliver you in battle?
“I thank God–through Jesus Christ our Lord.”  (Romans 7:25)

What a Friend You Have In Jesus

what a friend we have in Jesus
There is not a person on the planet that doesn’t desire to be loved, appreciated, and in need of good friendships.
God understands the need for each us to have fellowship and beneficial relationships with others.
God also knows the need for people to have the support of godly friends, but more important, He wants you to experience His presence and love as He draws you near to Himself.
Proverbs 18:24, A man of too many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”
Christians can become burdened and beat down with loneliness and pain for many reasons; divorce, death, disagreements, the list goes on…but what a Friend we have in Jesus! 
There is no need to force a futile relationship.  Instead allow the Lord to guide you.  Not only will you find solace as you grow to new depths of intimacy with the greatest Friend you will ever have; Jesus.  He will help keep loneliness and pain at bay as He helps you build godly friendships that will encourage you.
Are you weak and heavy laden, Cumbered with a load of care?
Precious Savior, still our refuge, Take it to the Lord in prayer.
Do thy friends despise, forsake thee? Take it to the Lord in prayer!
In his arms he’ll take and shield thee, Thou wilt find a solace there.
(Song: What a Friend you have in Jesus; verse 3)
If/When you are struggling with friendships, seek the Lord and experience His love and companionship.  He is a source of comfort and strength no matter what is going on in your life.
He is also able to bring people into your life that will bless you and brighten your day.
What a Friend We Have in Jesus!

God is Your Refuge; Do Not Fear

Do you believe the Lord is your defender in times of trouble?
Psalm 46:1-3,God is our refuge and strength, A very present help in trouble.  Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change and though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea; though its waters roar and foam, though the mountains quake at its swelling pride. Selah.
Psalm 46, is one of trust.  We live in fearful times; fear of failure, fear of what may happen in the world, fear of losing a loved one, fear of the unknown.  The only cure for fear is trust.
When you experience times of fear, you should identify the source and bring it to the Lord.
In the ancient Middle East, cities were built on heights with high walls for defense. Yet there was no city that was inaccessible. 
You can try to build yourself up using safeguards and tactics to shelter you from the woes of life, but Satan will try to tear the walls down.  The only perfect defense is by taking refuge in the Lord.
If the Lord is your refuge, you can live in confidence. He is able to handle your fears and provide you with a strength, peace, and courage that will help you in times of trouble.  His protection is something you can count on!
Psalm 56:3, “Whenever I am afraid, I will trust in you.”
Do not fear…God is Your Refuge!

Let Go and Let God

Romans 8:1, “There is therefore no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus, who do not walk according to the flesh, but according to the Spirit.”
We have all probably experienced times in life when we struggled with forgiving ourselves.  It’s in those moments that you need to let go and let God do a healing work in your life.
You CAN forgive yourself when you sin and fall short of God’s glory because Christ has already forgiven you.  He paid for your sins on the Cross.  All you need to do is go before the throne of grace and repent, so that you can experience this freedom in Christ.
You can not earn your salvation and you can not earn God’s forgiveness. However, through repentance, you can let go and let God do a transforming work through the Holy Spirit.
Only He can change your heart and transform your behavior.
Lamentations 3:22, “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not.”
His love is great and His mercy is everlasting!  Instead of wrestling with unnecessary guilt that will lead you down a path of depression and destruction; Let Go and Let God!
The penalty for sin is paid in full.  You are free from condemnation!
The next time you find yourself in sinful behavior, refuse to hold on to the guilt that Satan tries to attach to you; confess it….then Let Go and Let God!