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The Minute You Become a Christian, Act Like One. Don’t Be So Religious Only to Fail at Being Religious Because You Lack Being Spiritual

wpid-img_20150311_085818.jpgI’m just a messenger. When God speaks, I listen. I would rather do what God says and have him be pleased at me than to do what others say and have them be mad at me.

God does not decide on or pick a particular person to hear a word from him. His word is for anybody who will listen. God has a strange way of revealing something he needs you to know. Because after all, we can never understand why God does what he do or how he does it. His word shall go forth.

God uses unsuspecting vessels to send a message. Listen for that small voice when He says something. When we have to think or ask, “Was that about me?” The answer should be “No. But if it touched you in any way maybe it was for you.”

Every day we can expect a visitation from God. When he comes we have to have our house in order. When your house is not in order with God, neither are you. No matter how right you are in all that you do, your wrong becomes your right because you are choosing to just be you. Just because you may have weathered the storm doesn’t mean you did based on your own merit. But God may have sent the storm to bring something to your attention that he may get the glory out of it.

Yes, God blesses us at all times. Yet when we choose to not grow when the storm is over, we miss the more that God has for us. His word says he wants to bless us and bless us more abundantly but he wants us to be obedient. It’s not that he can’t do it but it’s because we won’t let him. Don’t be so religious only to fail at being religious because you lack being spiritual. Change your mindset.

It’s one thing to say you’re a Christian and another when your heart is not right with God. God gave us breath. We can’t make ourselves breathe. Just because you are a religious person, being religious doesn’t make you a Christian. Being religious is when we choose to live a life that honors our relationship with God. We rely on His wisdom. We allow his will, and not ours, be done. We are intimately connected to God and our spirit longs for a deeper relationship with Him. We choose to live to please God and not ourselves.

No matter how well we look on the outside, we have many reasons to deny what’s on the inside of our hearts. Actions speak louder than words. Be careful not to let your actions become idols as a result of your rituals. When you say “I’m a Christian” but don’t act like one, you are merely saying to God, I will act like a Christian sometimes but I won’t be a Christian all the time. I will choose when to act like one.”

Yes we can go to church regularly, we can say our prayers night, day, and all through the day, and we can even worship and praise God with our mouths thanking him for everything. All that is good but…when you choose not to commit to an intimate relationship with God and devote your life to his way of life, you make the mistake of living in vain because you are slowing dying a spiritual death when you choose to live without his intervention.

You are a sinner. You are dead to sin. Through faith in Christ, you can be saved and made whole again. “For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith–and this not from yourselves, it is the gift of God–not by works, so that no can boast” (Ephesians 2:8-9). You are spiritually renewed. Admit you need God’s intervention. When you are saved you are born again. The minute you become a Christian, act like one.

Isaiah 29:13 tells us, The Lord says: “These people come near to me with their mouth and honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. Their worship of me is made up only of rules taught by men.” We can know a lot about God but not know God personally. “When we claim to honor God while our hearts are far from him, our worship means nothing. It is not enough to study about religion or even to study the Bible. It is not enough to act religious. Our actions and our attitudes must be sincere. If they are not, Isaiah’s words also describe us (Matthew 15:8, 9).

There’s a saying “Sticks and stones may break my bones but words will never hurt me.” When I was a kid I used to believe this when people and even those I considered family would pick on me or call me names that would hurt my feelings. As I grew older I found some truth in this but believed in my heart that words can hurt more than sticks and stones and should never be the reason why we consciously inflict pain onto others by saying things that are mean, hurtful or not true.

Our decisions, actions, and way of thinking should reflect God’s character so that when people see us they may see Christ in us. And not see in us who we choose to be when people see us. Refusal to see the error in your ways does not excuse the behavior. In fact it only exacerbates it. How many times do you need to know that God is the great I AM THAT I AM? He, not you, will get the glory out of it.

Take a personal inventory of your life and check to see if something is missing on the inside. Is there a void? Is there a hole in your heart that you cannot fill? Do you believe something inside your heart is missing? As sincere as your religion may be, it is not enough to meet the needs of your heart or fill what is missing. Admit to yourself, I need God’s intervention. Go to God. Seek him. Say to him, I cannot do this thing called life by myself. Lord I need your help. God can fill the void. Change the error of your ways. Live a life pleasing to God. Live out the Fruit of the Spirit. God will be pleased.

When you feel the need for God’s intervention in your life, it is then and only then you come to understand your need of God. The moment you are born again, your sins are forgiven and you have a relationship with God. You are spiritually renewed. Old things pass away. A spiritual transformation takes place. You are a new creature in Christ. You are no longer who you used to be. Be the person God created you to be. I pray this blesses someone.

Be blessed! –JD

Matthew 15:8, 9, 11 “These people honor me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. 9 They worship me in vain; their teachings are but rules taught by men.” 11 “What goes into a man’s mouth does not make him ‘unclean’, but what comes out of his mouth, that is what makes him ‘unclean’ ”.

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You’ve Been Picked Out to be Picked On….Rejoice! God is Pruning You to Bear Good Fruit!

wpid-img_20140409_205929.jpgEvery experience is part of God’s pruning process. You’ve been picked out to be picked on. He cuts off fruitless branches and prunes fruitful ones.

Jesus tells us no branch can bear fruit by itself (John 15:4). When a branch is cut off from the truck of a tree, it’s dead.

Branches rely on their connection to the truck to receive nutrients to bear fruit. So are we to rely on God to bear good fruit. Just as the branches rely on its connection to the truck for physical nourishment, we must learn to depend solely on our connection to God for spiritual sustenance.

Fruit of the Holy Spirit—love, joy, peace, patience, goodness, kindness, gentleness, faithfulness and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23) is the fruit we produce. We grow spiritually. We work to become more like Christ. We rely on our connection to Him for our spiritual life. He is our source of life.

When trials and trouble beseech you, don’t fret. God is pruning you, preparing you for greater. You’ve been picked out to be picked on… Rejoice! God is pruning you to bear good fruit!

Be blessed! -JD

John 15:1-2 “I am the true vine, and My Father is the vinedresser. 2″Every branch in Me that does not bear fruit, He takes away; and every branch that bears fruit, He prunes it so that it may bear more fruit. 3″You are already clean because of the word which I have spoken to you. 4″Abide in Me, and I in you. As the branch cannot bear fruit of itself unless it abides in the vine, so neither can you unless you abide in Me. (NASB)

 

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Don’t Compromise Your Faith

sunset1.jpgDespite dismal situations or no matter the circumstances, we should praise God in advance. This, for some, can be easier said than done. And for others with faith, it can easily be done.

Too often we believe it is okay to compromise our faith, our belief system, and moral values for the sake of getting what we think we deserve in life. We are convinced it is easier to forsake God and refute what he has promised and clearly shown us in order to justify why success or happiness should come to us by our own doing.

However, regardless what answers may come to questions that we may never understand reasoning. We should never compromise our faith for the sake of man or worldly possessions or anything that would cause us to concede opposite our belief. Nor should we let anything prevent us from believing God is our source of provision and is in control.

We may get discouraged, distraught or dismayed. But we should never be afraid. Of what the enemy thinks he can do. It is never about me or you; even when we can’t see. It’s about God who will get the glory.

Recently after receiving some unsettling news I found myself wrestling with the very idea of why people do what they do . The thought came upon me about how we as Christians are not exempt from suffering. And while the circumstance may be painful, we should look at it as a blessing.

I am sure many of us may not want to experience discomfort, but it may be best for us because God may be working through us. God may be preparing us for something greater.

My response to the news had me bewildered, in shock, yet calm as I asked myself, “What happened?” In the face of opposition, truth had been replaced with lies and an attack of credibility. At first I was like, “It’s alright. It’s not over until you, God, say it’s over. I won’t become consumed or frustrated by it. It’s already alright.” I was convinced this was just a test of my faith.

Later that evening, something overcame me as I became angry. I broke down in fear and became discouraged. I lost sight of God and what I knew to be true; his Word. I questioned him like Job because it didn’t look like what I wanted or expected even though I knew better than to debate with Him when he says something is so. I knew better. I also knew I was to humbly submit to what he revealed as truth and leave the rest up to him.

Knowing this was not my usual behavior, I called out to God because I felt the enemy was coming at me hard pulling out all the stops to annihilate me. I said to him, “You know I am devoted to God. You cannot steal my joy! There’s a battle raging around me. You’re filled with rage, coming to destroy me. I’m in a spiritual battle I don’t want to be in. But this battle is not mines, it’s the Lord’s. And he will win.”

As the night went on, after talking with my mother who prayed for me, I tried to sleep. I wrestled with the notion that even as a Christian I’m not exempt from the attacks of the enemy. I remembered the Bible noting this very thing the other day as it said, “Faith in Christ brings great blessings but often great suffering too. God calls us to commitment, not to comfort. He promises to be with us through suffering and hardship, not to spare us from them.” This would later bring me rest.

The next day this stuck in mind, “We live in a fallen world filled with people who are convinced they are the master of our fate. Yet God has another plan that he declares is to prosper us and not harm us in spite of the enemy’s hate. No matter what man will do in his attempt to turn us away from him. God will be with us until the end. He will win.

To attack one’s credibility is to spread lies and untruth. Who are we to attack the credibility of God’s truth? We mustn’t do as evildoers do. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in heavenly places” (Ephesians 6:12). The battle is not ours. It’s the Lord’s. Take up the whole armor of God!

God doesn’t make mistakes. He is not a man, that he should lie, nor the son of man that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill (Numbers 23:19)? His reputation is flawless.  His word can be trusted. God is just, and he will make things right. He will punish the wicked and reward the faithful in darkness and light.

“Faith in God does not make our troubles disappear; it makes trouble appear less frightening because it puts them in the right perspective.”  Acts 5: 15-17

Things may not turn out as we expect. Count it all joy. It is a blessing. The season isn’t over; it just begun. God’s setting the stage for what’s to come.

People may lie and persecute you. Remember they did the same thing to Jesus who died on the cross for you. But he didn’t lose faith. He didn’t compromise his faith in God. We are subject to the same action and laws. Follow his example and you will go far.

Don’t settle for something less than what you believe. Do not compromise your faith for the sake of others to receive. What you think you deserve or are rightfully due. Keep the faith. God will reward you.

Be blessed! -JD

Psalm 119: 1-4 “Joyful are people of integrity, who follow the instructions of the Lord. 2 Joyful are those who obey his laws and search for him with all their hearts. 3They do not compromise with evil, and they walk only in his paths. 4 You have charged us to keep your commandments carefully.”

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Is It Me or Is It You?

Religious Candles and CrossWords can weigh heavily on the heart when not expressed in the right way. I truly believe it’s in how and what you say. I couldn’t help but think on this very thing today. In view of all that keeps coming my way.

To go to God in prayer with your petition and request, with the understanding and belief that he knows what’s best. Will you understand when he sends discernment to guide you? When he sends an answer to the very thing that may be troubling you?

When you’re compelled to do the right thing God has set in your heart. Will you not do to please others when you know God placed the right answer in your heart? Will you fight against the righteousness you know shall prevail? Or will you hide in contempt and refuse to face your fear instead.

Can it be me? Or is it you? That works within me to do what I know God has called me to do. By confronting conflict even when it goes against what it may look like I’m trying to do to you.

People can be so judgmental and unrighteous when it concerns their vulnerability. They will choose to see only that which validates the person they think they are or should be. Why is it so hard to get others to see the God in you? To be honest, you really don’t need them to. When you know in your heart you are doing what he instructed you to do.

When motives are in the right place there should never be a “but” in answer to the question. For what it does is brings your credibility and your faith and trust in God under subjection. The intent is never to bring harm but to reveal truth and honesty. And send a message that you may open your eyes to the things you may be refusing to see.

God has a way of showing us things we are in denial of. He sends confirmation through experiences and circumstances we cannot avoid. It is up to us to take notice to the answer he sends. For, God is not a god of confusion, but of peace that always brings a happy ending.

If conflict still exists even when you’ve done your best to find resolve. Remember it is not of God. For, God is not a man, that he should lie, nor a son of man, that he should change his mind. Does he speak and then not act? Does he promise and not fulfill? (Numbers 23:19) When God sends an answer, his righteousness shall prevail.

We cannot become confused or conflicted by what others say we should do. When we hear the voice of God, let this serve as confirmation to you. This applies to me too. For I know at times my actions may speak louder than my words. But my intent is to God, to remain true. To advise what he knows is best for you.

I don’t take this responsibility lightly. I go to God first. I ask him for discernment and guidance to lead me so that I may not hurt … others. It is never my intent to bring harm or ridicule. I have faults but it will never lead me to do … this. It would be absolutely remiss.

I’ve learned to take time out and examine my actions that are not in alignment with you … God. When things I struggle with becomes hard. And in doing so, I have to remove myself from them and the circumstance I seem to continually face. In order to recompense for my sins I may have unknowingly placed.

No matter how much people may confuse this with my reacting in the wrong way. God knows it’s the best way I try to handle things so that I may change. Yet, I find that in order to change I must go to God and meditate. I must seek him first to lead me the right way.

I know God knows all that we may go through. He will send an answer even when it doesn’t look like it to me or you.

I shall never underestimate the power of God regardless of the obstacles I may face. I will stand on His Word to run the race.

Ask yourself this question, is it me or is it you? Take a look at yourself. Through self-examination I hope you find an answer that aligns with God’s truth.

Be blessed! –JD

2 Corinthians 13:5 “Examine yourselves as to whether you are in faith. Test yourselves. Do you not know yourselves, that Jesus Christ is in you?– unless indeed you are disqualified.”

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Perception

Life's journeyThe perception of my life story is parallel to the journey I ultimately find myself living through God as a testament of my Faith. Meaning, I view my life story (things I’ve gone through), similar to the spiritual road I’ve traveled (journey of life) which I’ve lived based on my faith in God.

When God created us, he created us in his own image. We share many of his characteristics. Not in the physical sense but in spiritual, mental, and emotional. We have attributes of wisdom, love, joy and are given human spirit and moral judgment to choose to do good or bad and choose to make right or wrong right decisions.

The problem comes when we rebel against God and against his creation in our disobedience to Him. We go against His will. And out of human nature, follow our own way. We lack judgment. We lack wisdom. We refuse to listen to the Word of God. Through willful rebellion, we ignore and lose sight of Him. We make the choice to disobey.

Contrary to popular belief, a practice that is outside of God’s will that is generally accepted by society and followed by a course of action, goes against what God desires. Urges are natural. They were created by God.  But they are not established or intended by Him. It’s a human function of the body we either resist or give in to. Our thoughts, drives, and urges are natural processes but become wrong when we begin to harbor impure thoughts and act upon them.

God designed us with characteristics to use the way they were created to be used. Yet we all fall short and miss the mark, sometimes failing to do the right thing. But it doesn’t have to be this way. When faced with temptation or adversity, we can choose to look to God for help. He will give us the right answer.

We have a choice to use our experiences wisely, correctly or use them incorrectly, negatively. We must be willing to part ways from anything that causes us to fail. His Word says, “No temptation has seized you except what is common to man and God will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear.” 1 Cor 10:13 http://bible.us/1cor10.13.niv84. He will not let you be tempted beyond what you can bear. But when you are tempted, he will also provide a way out so that you can stand up under it.

Life gives us experiences that help us learn to build godly character. God gives us the ability to understand his nature and conform to it. To be a new creature in Christ is to bear the same characteristics as He. When we become new creatures, we learn obedience. We work to obey God. We follow Him. When we become a new creation we bring a blend of ourselves and Christ into the human person. We will deny self and take up our cross.

The Holy Spirit provides us with the same ability Jesus had to resist temptation. He depended solely on God. We, too, must do the same. Empowerment of the Holy Spirit will be essential to strengthen you to come against the thing that controls you. In the end, you will desire to relinquish that which controls you.

Jesus came to do the will of God, the One who sent him, and to complete His work (John 4:34). He surrendered his life and his will to God’s agenda. Let us do the same. The same qualities that characterize Jesus, surrender and self-sacrifice, should be the same of that for us. Take up your cross. Walk in the righteous path God has designed for you. Follow and obey his will for you.

Remove anything and everything that will stand in the way of bringing glory to God. Abandon your own desires. Give of yourself. Die to the flesh. Submit to God’s power. Put the Lord first above everything. Live in total submission to Him.

Life is what we perceive it to be. Let our perception be what we know and believe. When we stand in faith on what we know God will do. Choose to live in submission. Do what he desires of you. Stay on course. Follow through. Live by Faith. God will reward you.

Be blessed! —JD

Philippians 3:8-9 “Indeed, I count everything as loss because of the surpassing worth of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have suffered the loss of all things and count them as rubbish, in order that I may gain Christ 9 and be found in him, not having a righteousness of my own that comes from the law, but that which comes through faith in Christ, the righteousness from God that depends on faith.”

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A Mother’s Love

God put this on my heart today. To share these thoughts of what I’ve been led to say:

God bless the child that has his own.
For God sits high on a throne.
He knows all your rights and wrongs.

You see, he knew you long before he knew me.
Even though they say the apple doesn’t fall far from the tree.
Your inherent genes will always be a part of me.

It is never a good idea to forsake the ones God send to you.
No matter how much you disagree with what they say or do.
No matter how much you delay, God will show you the way.
To live righteously in his eyes or it’s an ultimate price you will pay.

The ultimate goal is to admonish God in your doings.
And not allow your life to end up in ruins.
Simply because you see no need to change.
Or because you’ve become an adult who lacks experience in the game… of Life.

Don’t lose sight in the midst of your emotions.
Avoid paying the cost based merely on a notion.
So that God may use you to change lives.
This is your assignment, your purpose, his desire.

Mothers are the salt of the earth. And so are fathers too.
Honor them as God would have you.
He tells you in his Word that this is what you must do.
That life may be more abundant for you.

It’s one thing to become an adult.
It’s another to consciously place fault.
In the ones whose words are to guide.
As God is on their side.

Longevity is not an entitlement. It is a blessing.
God keeps the old and swift to add to the message.
God doesn’t allow us to live as long as we do.
He has a plan for me. And he has one for you.

He uses parents to invoke knowledge and wisdom.
If only children will take the time to fully listen.
Respect, responsibility, accountability is required.
From children who become adults and believe they are entitled.
Don’t get it confused. It doesn’t take away.
The respect you are required by God to have for your parents always.

Parents are not perfect, but do their level best.
To love and guide you no matter what sometimes, may come from their chest.
You may not always like what they say.
But it helps if you express your opinion in a loving way.
You may not agree with everything they do.
But do your best not to let your feelings get to you.

Words hurt once they leave the lips.
Forgiveness is available, but it’s harder to forget.
Be careful what you say. God’s watching you, even today.
Evaluate your thoughts as your soul desires.
But remember God has ultimate power.

God put us here for such a time as this.
It would be absolutely remiss.
For us to not do as God instructs us to.
As for you, be careful who you entrust your life to.
It would be foolish to abandon the wisdom we try to impart upon you.

You can hide, but you can’t run.
God’s WILL will be done.
God will find you. It’s just a matter of time.
Don’t get caught up in the daily grind.
Of doing things your way.
Because there will come a day…. of reckoning.

Seek the wisdom of God.
There’s nothing he can’t do. He fixed me. He can fix you, too.

It is with this I say,
I’m a parent. I won’t ever go astray.
Or divert from the principles of what God teaches me every day.
Love in spite of who you may be.
Because I know God has a greater plan for me.

It’s never by our power or might. To make all things all right.
Don’t let the sun go down and live with regret.
Because once we close our eyes, you can’t bring us back.
To say what you held off today. You will live regretting it all your days.

You may think, “It won’t happen to me.”
“I’m invincible. I can do as I well please.”
Oh but when the day comes.
You will be held accountable to explain to God what it is you haven’t done.

Parents will always continue to pray.
For their children even when they lose their way.
When there’s nothing else we can do.
We surrender our children to God. He’ll correct you.

No matter the time or day. Know that a mother’s love will always stay.
You will remain close in her heart. Her love for you will never part.

Whatever it takes to be you, don’t stop trying.
But don’t fall to the tricks of the enemy in denying.
The Word of God, even when you don’t want to.
Because you’ll miss the blessing he has for you.

Jesus likened himself to the vine and believers to its branches.
We are given many chances.
To produce good fruit for God.
It’s not that hard.

Jesus is the vine. He produces lasting fruit.
Abide in Him as He abides in you.
And you will bear much fruit too.

His word is written. It is the truth.
Make it your goal to live by it. Thank you.

Be Blessed! JD

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