Have you ever done something wrong and didn’t want to tell anyone about it? Maybe it was when you were a child and you were terrified of your parents finding out what mistake you had made. You thought they might even kick you out!
Then when you finally told them or they found out they didn’t react at all how you expected them to. Instead, they forgave you and gave you a big hug to reassure you that they love you.
Are we like this with God?
When we mess up do we try to run and hide like Adam and Eve in the garden? Do we fear what the Lord is going to do to us as if He is sitting up in heaven contemplating our destruction? Maybe we even think about Him banishing us from heaven?
That may seem silly but many people view God this way and ultimately choose to hide rather than to repent.
The truth is, when we mess up God wants us to run as fast as we can to Him to make it right. He welcomes us with open arms because He never wants any distance in our relationship. We can’t hide from God because He is all-knowing, we may as well repent as quickly as possible so we aren’t overloaded with guilt and shame like the devil wants us to be.
Our heavenly Father is love, He is generous, and He wants us to live an abundant life. That’s why He didn’t just kill Adam and Eve in the garden and start over with creation. We so often try to hide and cover up our own mistakes like they did but that’s not what God wants.
Just like as a parent you want your kids to be honest and tell you when they’ve messed up, so does God. Why? So He can rightfully punish us? No. So He can forgive us and rid us of our shame and be in loving fellowship with us.
If you have anything that you would like to confess before God then I encourage you to pray this prayer, “Dear God, I am coming to you now to repent of my sins. I want to be rid of all guilt and shame and be in intimate fellowship with you. Thank you that when I repent you are always faithful to forgive me and cleanse me. In Jesus’ name, amen.”
“If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9 NKJV
We are all different ages, work unique jobs, are married or single, have children or have no children, and still despite all of our differences, we all have one necessity in common. We all need quiet time with God.
To sit in the presence of God to just be with Him and worship Him on our own instead of only in church on a Sunday morning, I believe is vital to our well-being and relationship with God. If we never take time to put aside distractions and get quiet in His presence, we will have a weaker level of peace and an underdeveloped relationship with our heavenly Father.
The time we spend in God’s presence, praying, reading, and worshipping, is the foundation for how productive and prosperous every other area of our lives will be.
Everything in our lives stems from our relationship with our God, therefore, if we aren’t experiencing His love from reading the Word and spending time with Him, we won’t share it with others.
If we are overwhelmed and lacking peace because we’ve been too busy to seek God, we’ll get worn out and become unfruitful.
If we are unsure of our future because we haven’t spent time in prayer for God’s direction, we’ll grow stagnant and confused about what we are meant to do.
Not only does God desire personal set apart time with us, our spirit craves it. To grow with God, we must put getting quiet in His presence as a top priority no matter what season of life we are in. When we do this, we will flourish in our relationship with Him and be prosperous, lacking nothing in our lives.
“But seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added to you.” ~ Matthew 6:33 NKJV
With Thanksgiving being only a few days away I began to think, how many days do we go throughout the year never taking a moment to recognize the blessings in our lives? How many days do we let pass without saying “thank you” to our heavenly Father?
God has given us an innumerable amount of things to be thankful for, such as:
Mercy – “Oh, give thanks to the Lord, for He is good! For His mercy endures forever. 1 Chronicles 16:34
Abundant life – “..I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.” John 10:10
Healing – “Who Himself bore our sins in His own body on the tree, that we, having died to sins, might live for righteousness—by whose stripes you were healed.” 1 Peter 2:24
Love and everlasting life – “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life.” John 3:16
Jesus’ intercession for us – “Who is he who condemns? It is Christ who died, and furthermore is also risen, who is even at the right hand of God, who also makes intercession for us.” Romans 8:34
Provision – “And my God shall supply all your needs according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” Philippians 4:19
God’s blessings are all around us, don’t overlook them! Every single day we should wake up with thankfulness in our hearts because our heavenly Father has redeemed, healed, and provided for us beyond anything we could earn or deserve.
Let us all make it our aim to never let a day go by without expressing our gratitude to our heavenly Father!
Have you ever tried speaking to someone about Christ but the result was not what you were hoping for? When it comes to salvation, it oftentimes takes several different situations and several different people speaking into someone’s life for them to come to Christ. But don’t let that discourage you!
In Paul’s first letter to the Corinthian church he shares a terrific example of working together to save the lost, “I planted the seed in your hearts, and Apollos watered it, but it was God who made it grow. It’s not important who does the planting, or who does the watering. What’s important is that God makes the seed grow.” (1 Corinthians 3:6-7 NLT) It doesn’t matter who leads a sinner into salvation, we all have an equal part to play and after all, it is the Holy Spirit who is working through us to reach that person anyway.
Paul shows here that the most important thing as believers in the Body of Christ is that we work together as vessels for the Holy Spirit to plant, water, and harvest seeds in people’s lives. If you witness to someone about Christ and they don’t decide at that moment to make Jesus their Lord, you may walk away from that situation upset, feeling like a failure, or wondering what you did wrong, but you aren’t a failure – you simply planted a seed.
You gave another minister something to build off of when they come across that man or woman and talk to them about Jesus. They may continue to build on that seed by watering it or they may be able to harvest it and lead that person into salvation. Either way, we are working together to bring the lost of this world into the Kingdom of God.
As Paul said, it isn’t important who does what, as long as people get saved and God gets the glory.
Last week I began a two-part series on influence because I believe who we allow to influence us and who we are influencing can greatly impact our lives, both positively and negatively. We discussed last week how what we see in someone else’s life can affect our relationship with God if we let it. Today I am going to share the responsibility we hold as Christians in a world where all eyes are on us.
As believers we have an enormous impact on the world, people are watching us when we don’t even realize it. Matthew 5:13-16 says we are meant to be salt and light to this world. Specifically, verse 16 (NKJV) says, “Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven.” Your actions as a believer should be in line with the Bible and glorify God!
Has anyone ever told you the reason they don’t go to church is because everyone in church is a hypocrite? We know that all churches are not overflowing with hypocrites so why do people think that way? Because somewhere, at some time, they were influenced negatively by a Christian. So much so that they now won’t go to church! Situations like this are why it is incredibly important that we follow the Word and walk in love.
The power that our influence holds motivates me to be more genuine with people. There are many lost men and women in the world who have passed up the opportunity of coming to Christ because they think it’s impossible to meet the standards of Christianity. When in reality, none of us are perfect.
We all go through difficulties in life and if we always hide that then we will portray a false image of perfection to the people around us. This portrayal of our lives does not glorify God. Instead of never talking about the difficulties you face, talk about how God brought you through them to encourage someone else!
On the contrary, if all you talk about are the hard times you face and you don’t ever mention God’s goodness and ability to bring you through those situations, then people will wonder what the point is in becoming a Christian because your life looks just like theirs.
I believe our influence is vitally important. Ask the Holy Spirit this week for ways you can improve the influence you have on your job, in your family, or at your church. Don’t allow people to influence you in a way that takes away from your God-given purpose, be genuine with people, and glorify God.
Influence plays a significant role in our lives when it comes to living out our God-given calling. If we allow family members, friends, or even people on social media to influence us to a greater degree than the Word of God then we will get off track. We may not notice it at first, it may not even be a big step off track, but still we will not be walking in God’s perfect will.
A substantial amount of damage can be done to our relationship with God and the plan He has ordained for us through what we allow into our minds and life. Influence is powerful, it has the ability to raise people up as well as bring people down. One way we can be positively impacted by other men and women is if we are motivated by the good qualities and accomplishments we see in them. On the contrary, looking at other people’s lives can bring us down if instead of using what we see to motivate us in our own walk and relationship with God, we become envious.
God has a divine purpose and a good plan for every single one
of us, those in the five fold ministry, as well as those who are not. He has
gifted us differently, called us to do different things, and graced us
personally to do them. If we see someone else walking in what God has called
them to do, become envious, then try to walk down that path as well, we’ll be
out of line. Ultimately this will sway us to be disobedient to the Lord’s plan,
You have to intentionally guard your own mind and heart; be aware
of who you are letting influence you. Influence itself is not bad, but becoming
envious and insecure because of who you are letting impact you, is.
I pray that this week you look at who and what guides your
life the most. If the instructions and promises of God are not at the top of
your list, take a look at how much time you spend scrolling through social
media, what music you listen to, what movies you watch, what news articles you
read, or what friends you spend the most time with. We often don’t realize
these areas of our day-to-day lives affect us on such a great degree.
Set your focus instead on Jesus’ actions and words. His life
is an extraordinary example of how to commune with the Father, treat those
around us, and be obedient to walk out our callings no matter what.