Wednesday, September 20, 2017

for their hearts were hardened

Mark chapter 6 starts off with Jesus sending out the disciples and giving them the power and authority to perform miracles of healing and deliverance. They went out taking nothing with them and performed many great miracles. They came back so excited about what they had seen and done.

Mark 6:30-44  Tells about the miracle of feeding the 5,000. Can you imagine this taking place?

They participate in this miracle, passing out the food, eating the food, and gathered up twelve baskets of left overs. How many of us are amazed as we read this?  The disciples didn’t get it. Even though they were right there serving, they didn’t get the amazing miracle. We see that their hearts were hardened and they did not even understand what had happened. We see a few verses later, they didn’t recognize Jesus and lacked understanding.

Mark 6:45-52 Jesus then sent them on in a boat and he went to pray. We can see that the disciples were rowing along at midnight against a wind, and completely lose it when they see Jesus walking on the water. Jesus intended to walk on by. He was just strolling across the lake to meet them on the other side, but because of their fear he went over and got in the boat. Let read what happens.

And he went up unto them into the ship; and the wind ceased: and they were sore amazed in themselves beyond measure, and wondered.  For they considered not the miracle of the loaves: for their heart was hardened.
Mark 6:51‭-‬52 KJV‬‬‬‬‬‬

In the Message Bible it says:
Jesus was quick to comfort them: “Courage! It’s me. Don’t be afraid.” As soon as he climbed into the boat, the wind died down. They were stunned, shaking their heads, wondering what was going on. They didn’t understand what he had done at the supper. None of this had yet penetrated their hearts.
Mark 6:50‭-‬52 MSG‬‬‬‬‬‬

This miracle and all that occurred had not penetrated into their hearts.
Here we have men who have been walking with Jesus, watching him perform miracles,  had gone out at his command and had performed miracles,  were participants in feeding 5,000 people from five loaves and two fish. Their heart was unpenetrated and hardened. They did not understand the miracle. This tells me that even those who are busy working in the church, may allow hardness to take over their  hearts.  If the disciples' hearts hardened even in the very physical presence of Jesus, we are not immune to this either.

Think about a rock and sponge when you pour water on them. The rock may get wet and may even get cleaner, but the water never penetrates into the rock. A sponge not only gets wet, it is penetrated. It soaks in the water all the way through, internal effects are made. We need a heart that can be penitrates by the things of God.  Like the parable of the sower who sowed his seed. Some seed fell on hard ground, some by the wayside, some in the weeds, and some on good ground.  Only the seed on the good ground was able to form roots that penetrated down into the ground So nutrients could be found.  Only then was the plant able to develop and grow.  Only then could there be good fruit grown on the plant.  Our hearts need to be good ground that takeshe in the good things of God and allows it to grow bringing for the fruit that is good.

The Bible warns about allowing our hearts to be hardened. Hardening happens when doubt, fear and complacency enter. There is temptation that takes place and may actually tempt you into an action that is sinful.

O come, let us worship and bow down: let us kneel before the Lord our maker.  For he is our God; and we are the people of his pasture, and the sheep of his hand. To day if ye will hear his voice,  Harden not your heart, as in the provocation, and as in the day of temptation in the wilderness:
Psalms 95:6‭-‬8 KJV‬‬‬‬‬‬

Wherefore (as the Holy Ghost saith, To day if ye will hear his voice,  Harden not your hearts, as in the provocation, in the day of temptation in the wilderness:
Hebrews 3:7‭-‬8 KJV‬‬‬‬‬‬

We can be aware of that hardening of our hearts may lead us back into a sinful behavior. We can choose to draw closer to God in His word, in fellowship with our Christian  brothers and sisters and in prayer to keep our hearts always ready to soak in the things of God.

But exhort one another daily, while it is called To day; lest any of you be hardened through the deceitfulness of sin.  For we are made partakers of Christ, if we hold the beginning of our confidence stedfast unto the end;  While it is said, To day if ye will hear his voice, harden not your hearts, as in the provocation.
Hebrews 3:13‭-‬15 KJV‬‬‬‬‬‬

Hardening of hearts can take us away from the very path of God. It can take us away from the presence of God to the point of being separated and unaware, unable to even understand the things of God. This will bring forth fruit that is not of God and definitely not good. This will be a fruit that is painful, deceitful, hurtful and destructive.

They are darkened in their understanding and separated from the life of God because of the ignorance that is in them due to the hardening of their hearts.
Ephesians 4:18 NIV

Rather than hardening, we need keep our hearts full of the things of God. We need to fill our hearts with His word, love for others, and with praise of God alone.

Set your affection on things above, not on things on the earth.
Colossians 3:2 KJV

We can read that Mary treasured the things in her heart about what had occurred and what she saw when Jesus was born. She pondered them or thought on them. She studied it and kept it as a treasure. This led to her eventually prompting him to perform his first miracle once he reached adulthood.  She believed  and understood who he was because she treasured and understood the things that had occurred.

But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.
Luke 2:19 NIV

When we recall the goodness of God, recall His miracles, ponder them, soak them up into our hearts, we begin to understand and become filled with praise for God.. we let this treasure change our hearts. David does this in Psalms 107. He describes past events that God had done, and calls for the people to praise God. We need to begin to ponder and recall the mighty things God has done for us. Store it in our hearts, so that all we have coming out of us, is the praise of God. David would describe something God had brought Israel through, then follow it up with praise or a call for Israel to praise God.

Then they cried to the Lord in their trouble, and he saved them from their distress.  He sent out his word and healed them; he rescued them from the grave.  Let them give thanks to the Lord for his unfailing love and his wonderful deeds for mankind.  Let them sacrifice thank offerings and tell of his works with songs of joy.
Psalm 107:19‭-‬22 NIV‬‬‬‬‬‬

Out of the abundance of the heart the mouth speaks. This means whatever has been stored up in our hearts is what we talk about and share. It is what we are passionate about.  It becomes our conversation and our testimony. What has soaked in that then comes out?

A good man out of the good treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is good; and an evil man out of the evil treasure of his heart bringeth forth that which is evil: for of the abundance of the heart his mouth speaketh.
Luke 6:45 KJV

What is penetrating our hearts?

Rather than allowing a hardening, let the things of God penetrate our hearts, let them go deep and become embedded  and planted into our souls. Let it be that seed that becomes fertile and brings forth fruit. Let it be what we ponder and think about, let it become our praise and our thoughts, let it become what  we speaks about and what we know. Let it take over and overflow because we can speak only of the goodness of God. Let the fruit we share be the good fruit of God that those around us can taste of good fruit. May they know our fruit is good by what we say and do. Our hearts are revealed by our conversation.  May the fruit it bears speak of the goodness of God and draw others to fall in love with Jesus.

Friday, September 8, 2017

Unite the Body

This may not be my normal type of post, but I feel this very deeply and I must obey what I know God is saying to me.
As these past couple of weeks have unfolded and the next couple of weeks come we have seen great floods brought by great storms, devastating fires burning in multiple areas, severe earthquakes, and great division and violence being played out in the streets. There are three more huge hurricanes sitting in the Atlantic with Irma being one of the biggest, scariest storms I have ever heard of.
I am hearing many people asking why all this is happening. There is great uncertainty  and fear.  Turmoil and destruction are everywhere,  affecting most of this country and even the world. There are some calling it deserved and a punishment.  I cannot say that but I do know as I was praying for all those being affected I heard God say something to me.  He is calling His body to come together.

"Unite the Body."

Just as a body, though one, has many parts, but all its many parts form one body, so it is with Christ. For we were all baptized by one Spirit so as to form one body—whether Jews or Gentiles, slave or free—and we were all given the one Spirit to drink. Even so the body is not made up of one part but of many.
1 Corinthians 12:12‭-‬14 NIV

But speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ:  From whom the whole body fitly joined together and compacted by that which every joint supplieth, according to the effectual working in the measure of every part, maketh increase of the body unto the edifying of itself in love.
Ephesians 4:15‭-‬16 KJV

I, personally, do not know how to unite the body of Christ, but I do know if we all listen to the voice of God, we can jear him calling is to love one another and come together.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another.  By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.”
John 13:34‭-‬35 NIV

God is calling His Body to unite together. He is the Head and the Head is telling the body to come together for its purpose. Its purpose is to serve and do the will of the Father.  He is calling the body together in this nation to put that purpose first. Come together and pray. Prayer like never before. Pray for one another. Pray for every part of the body, not just the ones you know, but reach across the denominal and cultural lines. Come together for His work of prayer.  Pray for your families. Pray for the country.  Pray for our world. Pray for hearts to change and Love to intervene. Pray for healing and restoration. Pray for divine protection. Pray for a change in the Body of Christ. Pray for revival to take over this nation.  Pray for unity in the body of Christ.

Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person is powerful and effective.
James 5:16 NIV

God is still here. He hears the prayers of the saints. He has a purpose in everything. He is God and He will manifest His great power through the Body when it operates and obeys him. We are that body and the head of the body has spoken. Unite the Body. Come together and pray. There is nothing God cannot do. He is waiting for the body to act in prayer, to act in its purpose.  It is time for the church to arise and stand together with purpose, with prayer, with praise and make known the wondrous glory of God. Come together in faith and in the unity of Jesus Christ for His purpose. That is where hope is found. In Him we have hope, we have peace, and we find joy.

All this is for your benefit, so that the grace that is reaching more and more people may cause thanksgiving to overflow to the glory of God.  Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:15‭-‬18 NIV

Saturday, August 26, 2017

hearing and responding

Many of us ask, "Is it just me or is it really the voice of God?" We may be fearful about moving and acting when we feel like God is asking something of us. We struggle to recognize His voice and struggle to respond. To obey God we need to learn to know His voice and then take action.

Hearing the voice of God can be different for each person and can be different at different times. We all hear from God when we begin to feel the need to turn to Him. We hear him calling us and urging us to repentance,  to give our lives to him. We have heard his voice. We may hear him other ways too.
Through His Word
Through teaching and preaching
Through ministries: music, gift of knowledge, etc
Through Prayer
Through dreams
Through that still  small voice : unction, idea planted in your mind, nudge

But ye have an unction from the Holy One, and ye know all things.
1 John 2:20 KJV
We learn the voice of God just as Samuel did. Samuel didn’t know the voice of God the first time God called, he learned it through experience. Once he understood God was speaking, Samuel learned the voice of God and obeyed. We have all heard Godʼs voice and responded, that conviction and calling that lead us to repentance. How did you know you needed to repent, to get baptized, or felt calling for more in your heart? We all heard him speaking to our hearts.

Here I am! I stand at the door and knock. If anyone hears my voice and opens the door, I will come in and eat with that person, and they with me.
Revelation 3:20 NIV

When we heed his call, we become familiar with the voice of God and know His voice just like a child knows their parent’s voice. When I call my children, they answer because they know my voice. It should be the same with God.

My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me:
John 10:27 KJV

Know God’s word: God always speaks through his Word. Reading the Bible often and regularly is key. Reading the Bible will help us learn about God, learn His character, and help us recognize what and how he speaks. It is the foundation for knowing Him and His voice. We can trust Godʼs Word. When we know the Word of God, we will be able to recognize what He is asking of us verses lies and temptations.

“Very truly I tell you Pharisees, anyone who does not enter the sheep pen by the gate, but climbs in by some other way, is a thief and a robber.  The one who enters by the gate is the shepherd of the sheep.  The gatekeeper opens the gate for him, and the sheep listen to his voice. He calls his own sheep by name and leads them out.  When he has brought out all his own, he goes on ahead of them, and his sheep follow him because they know his voice.  But they will never follow a stranger; in fact, they will run away from him because they do not recognize a strangerʼs voice.”
John 10:1‭-‬5 NIV‬‬‬‬‬‬

But you belong. The Holy One anointed you, and you all know it. I haven’t been writing this to tell you something you don’t know, but to confirm the truth you do know, and to remind you that the truth doesn’t breed lies.
1 John 2:20‭-‬21 MSG‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

We know that God does not always proclaim big and loud to talk to us. He uses that still, small voice. Elijah learned that the still, small voice is the one to obey. It may come as a thought or a feeling you cannot ignore. It may nag at you and urge you to act. You may feel that you desperately need to pray or talk to someone, or maybe even share the gospel with them. That is that still, small voice of God speaking to your heart.

And he said, Go forth, and stand upon the mount before the Lord . And, behold, the Lord passed by, and a great and strong wind rent the mountains, and brake in pieces the rocks before the Lord ; but the Lord was not in the wind: and after the wind an earthquake; but the Lord was not in the earthquake:  And after the earthquake a fire; but the Lord was not in the fire: and after the fire a still small voice.  And it was so, when Elijah heard it, that he wrapped his face in his mantle, and went out, and stood in the entering in of the cave. And, behold, there came a voice unto him, and said, What doest thou here, Elijah?
1 Kings 19:11‭-‬13 KJV‬‬‬‬‬‬‬

For who hath stood in the counsel of the Lord , and hath perceived and heard his word? who hath marked his word, and heard it?
Jeremiah 23:18 KJV

What we hear must agree with the Word of God. God will never go against His own word. God will not go against His own Word. We can trust His word. If something is contrary to His Word, the Bible, it is not of God. We can ask if it aligns with the Word of God? Does it align with his character? If so, we can trust that it is the right thing.  It is even okay to confirm or fleece God just as Gideon did in the book of Judges. He confirmed with God before acting.  It may even be the wise path to get confirmation for big acts before moving. God may send two or three confirmations for you. Before I moved forward with  a relationship with my husband back when He asked me to date him, I asked God to confirm that it was His will first. God answered clearly. I simply asked that if this man is the one for me, he would arrive at the church Sunday morning before me and if he wasn’t the one for me, I would be there first. He was at the church three hours before me.  Really clear answer there!

How do we respond?

Listen first. We should always include time to listen to God in our prayer time and throughout our day. We can hear from Him when we take time to listen.
Then, we act on what we know and trust him to lead us rightly. We obey what he is asking of us. We just go do it.

But this thing commanded I them, saying, Obey my voice, and I will be your God, and ye shall be my people: and walk ye in all the ways that I have commanded you, that it may be well unto you.
Jeremiah 7:23 KJV

When we know Him and His voice, we will act on it. The more we take action, the easier it gets. We begin to recognize His leading more and more. We will develop more trust, more familiarity, action will become our first response rather than fear, or uncertainty.

“Lord, if itʼs you,” Peter replied, “tell me to come to you on the water.”   “Come,” he said. Then Peter got down out of the boat, walked on the water and came toward Jesus. But when he saw the wind, he was afraid and, beginning to sink, cried out, “Lord, save me!”  Immediately Jesus reached out his hand and caught him. “You of little faith,” he said, “why did you doubt?”
Matthew 14:28‭-‬31 NIV‬‬‬

Peter responded to the voice of God, but fear entered.  He knew who to turn to and cried out to Jesus. Jesus reached down and rescued him. Fear may enter and try to keep us from acting on God’s voice. We can trust that even in the midst of action, God will rescue us and help us through. We may mess up, but God will be there to lift us up and turn the situation around. We can respond to God’s call without fear knowing He is right there to help us. Don’t let fear cripple your ability to take action for God. Follow that urging, the unction. Reach out and be the hands and feet of Jesus. It may feel uncomfortable and we it may stretch you into growing faith. God will bless you when you obey. You may find yourself sitting and praying with a stranger and end up leaving more blessed than you imagine. You may end up giving you last few dollars away, yet feel richer than ever. You may help lead a hurting soul to the Life-giving, Jesus Christ. May we become ready and willing to here the voice of God, recognize that voice and obey it. Let us act on His leading and be a blessing and be a light to those for which God is reaching. Let Him use us as He desires.

Monday, August 21, 2017

the heavens declared

The heavens declare the glory of God; the skies proclaim the work of his hands.
Psalm 19:1 NIV

Today, we had the privilege of viewing a total solar eclipse.  It has been hyped and talked about for weeks around here. We all learned about eclipses and how they happen. Many people from all over the world showed up in our little town and neighboring areas just to experience  approximately 2 1/2 minutes of darkness in the middle of the day.  We sat out in a field with our students at school with viewers ready. It was truly an amazing sight to behold. The many effects and changes around us brought many 'oohs' and 'ahhs.'

This evening, I have enjoyed seeing videos shared by others and by news agencies. All the excitement and the reactions were the same. Pure amazement! It was a moment that will last a long time in memories.

The best part was sitting there realizing we were seeing God at work.  The precise ness and accuracy needed for such an event speaks of an awesome creator. This event requires a specific distance from the moon to the earth, as well as from the sun. It takes into account the sizes of all three: the sun, the moon, and the earth. It was orchestrated and finetuned so the amazing solar eclipse could occur. Not only was it orchestrated, but due to the predictability of the motion of both the earth and sun, the patterns were laid out and can be tracked. We can predict when the eclipses will occur and prepare ourselves to see them.  Without a creator who set this well timed and perfectly placed planet into motion, we would not have these experiences.  The very heavens and skies proclaimed their Creator today. Many people today, reacted with awe and wonder to the creation shouting out truth of His existence. People responded with praise and adoration. Many may not realize it, but God was praised today. Many voices uttered words of praise and called out 'Oh my God' as this phenomenon occurred. I couldn't help but think and wonder what God was hearing at that moment. The heavens declared the glory of God.

So often, people wait till these grand moments to declare the glory of God. Too often, we forget that everyday is meant to be a day for glorifying God.  Everyday around us, the creation of this world is crying out His glory, but His people fail to do so. We get so busy with living our busy lives that we may not take time to just thank Him, praise Him, or even notice His handiwork around us. When is the last time you have taken time to count your blessings from God? When I start to try to list them, I begin to realize, He has done so much for me that I cannot even tell it all. I have not noticed and I have forgotten to take time to notice.  So as I lay my head to rest tonight,  I am doing my best to take notice of all the many blessings. He has done so much for me and I am thanking Him. I am praising Him. I am going to make more effort every morning and every evening to take some time to be awed and amazed at His goodness to me. I will notice the handiwork of God and I will declare His glory a more each day.  I do not want to be the one who is silent and allows the rocks cry in my place.

And he answered and said unto them, I tell you that, if these should hold their peace, the stones would immediately cry out.
Luke 19:40 KJV

I will praise Him for His handiwork, for His blessings and, most of all, because he is God. He is worthy of all our praise just because of who He is.
 He is God.

My tongue will proclaim your righteousness, your praises all day long.
Psalm 35:28 NIV

Thursday, August 10, 2017

bloom where you are planted

When I was six years old, my family moved from rural northwest Arkansas to sunny Southern California.  We moved away from all my mom's family, everything we knew and understood to where my dad's  family lived. It was a huge change.  I remember my mom struggling with the big move and changes. But she realized something important. Bloom where you are planted.

I don't  know  if someone told her that or if God helped her, but it changed the perspective in her heart and mind.  She would give that advice to others when chamges came into their lives as well. As we have grown and changes come to our lives, I always think about that. Bloom where I am planted.

This is a Biblical principal as well. Paul explained that he  could be content no matter the circumstances because he was trusting in God knowing He was taking care of him.

I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.
Philippians 4:11 NIV

Paul went through many things, but worked for the Kingdom of God. He would still preach, share the gospel, and love others.  We can do the same thing.  Whether we make a big move to a new place or have big changes in our lives, we can still be effective workers in the Kingdom of God.  When we go through struggles or good times, difficulties or ease, we can still be used by God to accomplish His will.  Too many times we make excuses and find reasons why we aren't good enough or our circumstances aren't right. We can find many 'reasons' not to pray, share the Gospel, reach out to others, or just be loving  to those who need it.  This is not what God wants for us. We need to find contentment in the place He has us in, in that we can trust that He is taking care of the details and our purpose is just to do His work and will.  We must still bloom where we are planted.

I look out into the field behind my house and there are several flowers growing up among the weeds. They are blooming where the seeds fell and began the process of growing and bloomimg. Not one of them complained about the location or wished to move to the flowerbed by the house. Not one of them refuse to bloom because of the struggle to reach above the tall grass or circumstances that surround them. No, they just grow and bloom.  We can learn a lot and realize we can grow and bloom right where we are, in spite of the circumstances around us. God has placed us right where He needs us to be. He already knows what is going on around us and has a plan for why we are there.  Our best advice and choice is to bloom where we are planted.

For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord , “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.
Jeremiah 29:11 NIV

He has a plan for us and needs us to be right where we are so we can grow and learn to trust Him more and more. We can be used right where we are and find that God is already there working for our good.

And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
Romans 8:28 NIV

We can find contentment in knowing He is working for our good and will do more in our faith than what we can ever do when we wait for the 'perfect time' or 'perfect circumstances.' God has it in His hands and he is waiting for us to activate our faith and take action right where we are. Just go ahead and bloom right where you are.

Thursday, July 27, 2017

an act of love

I just read a story and saw a photograph of a sweet 98 year old husband, lovingly, feeding his wife ice cream at a Sonic. The story, of course, praised this act of love, as it was very hot outide. The person who took the picture, described how the man carefully place a towel over her and sat in the door of the car to feed her ice cream on a very hot day. It was a very sweet act of love that is often not seen today.
I love being married. My husband and I love each other very much.  He is a good husband and I do my best to be a good wife. As a married couple, one thing that is important to us is demonstrating God's love and purpose in our marriage. A few years ago, my husband and I spoke at a marriage retreat. There was a statement he made that I have never forgot. As we were discussing how marriage is a reflection of how God loves the church, my husband began to talk about how much God loves the church. That is how much a husband should love his wife. He said, that just as Jesus was willing to die on the cross by the hands of the very people he loved and was dying for, a husband should be willing to sacrifice and love his wife that much. He held out his arms and said, even if she turns and causes ultimate hurt, a husband should love his wife enough to forgive and continue to love her. He talked about a husband giving willingly and freely to his wife because he loves her and not out of expectation. It was about showing love, not what you get back. I then discussed how a wife is to accept that love and return that love back to her husband. One thing that a wife can do is to offer respect to the husband that God has given her. Biblically, a husband is to love his wife, but a wife is to respect her husband. That is one of the greatest gifts a woman can give her husband. When I spend my time and energy focusing on showing love to my husband and he focuses on showing love to me, both parties needs are met and the relationship is firm and secure. There is no place to demand anything of the other. This is where trust is formed in a relationship.

Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her
Ephesians 5:25 NIV

However, each one of you also must love his wife as he loves himself, and the wife must respect her husband.
Ephesians 5:33 NIV

Jesus loves us so much that he willingly laid down his life because of our faults and sin. He willingly died to set us free. He took our hurt and shame. He took our sins. He took all our weakness and failures and was nailed to that cross by the hands of those he loved.  All because of love.
What an amazing act of love and self-denial. What an amazing gift He gives us.  When I think about the gift of salvation that came from His sacrifice, I feel in awe and humbled. I did not deserve such a gift. Yet, because of His love, He gave it freely.  God gave His son freely and willingly, not to get something out of it, but to offer a gift of salvation and eternal life to those whom he loves.  

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 3:16 NIV

God is honored and respected by our love that is returned to Him. He does not demand our love. We offer it freely in return just because of the mighty gift of love he has given.  I would even say, even if God never did anything else for me, I would still love Him in return. The gift of sacrifice He gave to set me free and pardon my sins should be enough for me to forever dedicate my love and life to him. I should love him not for what I can get out of the relationship,  but for what He has already done. I should be fully focused on His ultimate gift and my purpose should be to bring Him glory for that gift. I did not deserve such a gift and my life  should  honor and respect that gift. Selfless love that is focused on Him, not selfish love wanting what ever I can get. As a forgiven soul, I can only love God for what he has done and trust that he loves me more than I can ever dream. He will meet my needs as He promised and will care for me deeper than anyone on this earth.  My actions, thoughts and deeds should all be done to show Him how much I love him for who He is and what He has done for me.

Love goes deeper and endures long. Love is selfless, caring and kind. Love brings hope and joy. A good relationship with Jesus is built on love. That is what I want most of all.

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, 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.
1 Corinthians 13:4‭-‬7 NIV

Friday, July 21, 2017

mission minded message

I was so privileged to get to attend the general conference for the A.B. of C. In Hot Springs.  I always leave there feeling like my spirit has been fed and refreshed. All the messages were wonderful.  One of my favorite days is getting to hear the missionaries give the reports and share about the mission works around the world.  I usually take copious notes to review later. As I sat down and began flipping through my notes this morning, I realized each missionary had a statement I had written down. Whether they planned to or not, God organized them into a great flow and message.

"Be an encourager."  -Bro. Eric Kirkendall

We need to encourage others. Speak words of life and blessing. Notice others needs and listen when they need to share. We can offer the love of God as we encourage others. We can speak words of life and hope to those around us and those whom we contact every day.

Therefore encourage one another with these words.
1 Thessalonians  4:18

"Invest in people." - Sis. Karen Lanning

How do we share the gospel? We invest in people. Many people invest in things, but God cares about people. He sends us to preach the gospel, love others and help others.  We are to be His hands and feet. He invests in us, we need to do the same and reach out into others' lives.

Carry each other's burdens, and in this way you will fulfill the law of Christ.
Galatians 6:2

"Your heart must go somewhere. " -Pastor David Penrod

Our heart must feel compassion  and love. When we hear about a need, especially in missions or around us locally, we should have a heart that reacts and responds. Our heart should be filled with the love of God and pour out that love in the form of compassion and response to the need as much as we can. We can offer to help meet a need or connect with someone who can. We can pray as well.  What is your heart loving, things or people? Our heart holds treasure dearly. What is your treasure? We need to have the heart of God for people.

For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.
Matthew 6:21

"Be refreshing to others." -Sis. Mary Mitchell

We must consider how we talk and act. How we treat others reveals what is in our heart. Do we refresh others or bring them down? Are we complainers, gossips,  hurtful, or are we lifting up others? What are we offering to others?  I was challenged by this. I want to refresh others. I want to walk in a room and when  I walk out, leave those there feeling like they have been given a cold glass of water. I want them to feel refreshed, not dragged down by my words, attitude, or presence.

I will refresh the weary and satisfy the faint.
Jeremiah 31:25

"The Holy Spirit flows naturally." Bro. Steven Tolman

When we get in tune with God with daily relationship, His Spirit can flow  through us and operate naturally. We will respond to Him and follow His leading. We will be ready to do the work he as for us and His will is accomplished. We should allow the Holy Spirit to flow and operate as He sees fit. This is when miracles take place, when souls are reached, when needs are met, when God is glorified.  That is the true life-giving flow a Christian should have pouring from their lives.

Whoever believes in me, as Scripture has said, rivers of living water will flow from within them.
John 7:38

These messages challenged me and renewed my mission. I hope and pray we all can purpose our daily walk to the flow of the Holy Spirit: to encourage, invest, love and refresh. May our hearts belong to God and His body. May we find that we are purposed to follow God's  heart for those around us and around the world. May all we do glorify our Father in heaven.