God is Greater

Devastation of man.jpg“Behold, in this you are not right. I will answer you, for God is greater than man.”

Job 33:12

Last year our beloved Smokey Mountains were ablaze with fire. The devastation that man’s carelessness caused broke my heart as I traveled around Roaring Fork Trail and captured the charred remains of  age old trees. I wanted to cry. But as I hiked up the side of the mountain and looked out over the scene before me, my focus went from the burned stubble to the new life springing up all around. Sprigs of pine trees dotted the mountain floor and other green vegetation poked sturdy heads above the earth. I took this picture, because it spoke God’s life into me.

I sat down and prayed. I asked God’s forgiveness for only seeing the charred remains first. I asked God’s forgiveness for the individuals who caused the fire. And I found peace that in the midst of the ruins, God is greater.

I’ve been through many trials in my life. Some so bad that there will always be a scar. But the thing about scars is that the wound itself is healed, the scar is mark on me is a reminder of God’s deliverance.

I saw that in the forest. There were scars all around, but the healing was in the new growth. The healing was in moving forward and trusting in God who cares more about the foliage than I ever could. The Creator is greater.

 

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Saved, now what?

how to receive the holy spirit - good news unlimited on Image Of The Holy Spirit“But when the Father sends the Advocate as my representative – that is, the Holy Spirit – he will teach you everything and will remind you of everything I have told you.”

John 14:26

Jesus spent a lot of time with his disciples. This time was not always spent in walking, fishing, and telling jokes, although I’m sure they did their share of that. Most of Jesus’ time was spent in teaching lessons that the disciples would need after he left them. Lessons on how to talk with authority when you don’t agree with them, lessons on how to show love to the unlovely, and lessons on repentance when you fall short of God’s expectations.

I have a heavy burden for those who accept Christ and are not taught the “what’s next” of a Christian life. My burden was given to me from God and through that burden I wrote “From Self-esteem to God-esteem.” These words on paper are a guideline to listening to the Holy Spirit in the “what’s next.”

When we accept Christ as our Savior and acknowledge that he has forgiven, and always will, our sins, we are free. We are free to be whoever we want to be. But as we are told in Psalm 37:4 that if you, “Delight yourself in the Lord, and he will give you the desires of your heart,” our desires will be the same as God’s. Dwelling in the relationship with God is where the Holy Spirit comes in, and also where we fall short in mentoring new Christians in their walk.

Our strength to walk with God comes from the strength of God in us. Jesus did not leave his disciples, or us, to their own devices. He left them with an indwelling Holy Spirit that provides a way to continue walking with Christ. The Holy Spirit teaches us as Christ taught his followers: talking, loving, and repenting. He gives us wisdom and understanding for living in a sin-full world. He  teaches us meaning when we read the Scriptures, and he reveals sin through discernment.

We should never neglect the Holy Spirit power in us. I spent many confusing years trying to do it on my own, because I was saved through a denomination that made me feel like the Holy Ghost was a dirty word. I didn’t realize that I had all that I needed right with me from the moment I accepted Christ to live a Christian life. I worked, I studied, and I did. And I searched for something I thought was missing.

What a revival we could have if we would only take the time to mentor Christians and show them through God’s Word the power against the world that we have inside of us. My pastor has been giving out the “From Self – esteem to God – esteem” book to new converts at the time of their salvation. But we need more. That book is only a stepping stone to helping each other draw on the wisdom, strength, and power of the Holy Spirit living inside each of us.

Who can you mentor today?

The Will of God

Jesus_black“For this is the will of my Father, that everyone who looks on the Son and believes in him should have eternal life, and I will raise him up on the last day.”

John 6:40

 

Last night during our weekly Bible study, a discussion started around God’s will and the conditions of the world. I know, this isn’t a new topic among Christians, but as the views and beliefs circled the room, I felt God nudging me in truth: God only has one will for us. God’s will is that all should be saved through belief in His Son, Jesus Christ.  Everything else along our journey depends on how close we are to God and listening to Him. Psalm 37:4 gives us the roadmap, Delight yourself in the Lordand he will give you the desires of your heart.”  

Many people are serving God in countries that are dangerous to Christians, and we pray for their safety. Is it God’s will that they be in danger? Are we thwarting God’s will by praying for their safety? No, I don’t believe that we are. God’s will was completed the minute these precious missionaries looked on Jesus and believed in Him; they have eternal life and that is God’s will. As they walked with God and became closer to Him, He placed a desire in their heart to serve Him through mission work and that is what put them where they are today. And we are all called to pray.

It is not God’s will, or even His desire, that we suffer, but He warned us that we will as long as we live on earth. If we look at the book of 1 Peter (I’m not going to write it all down, but please, do read it today), we see many times where Peter writes similar to the following in 1 Peter 3:17 “For it is better to suffer for doing good, if that should be God’s will, than for doing evil.” God’s will is that none would be lost, that all would be saved to eternal life. But then He lets us know that from that moment of salvation, if we are living a Christian life, we will be persecuted. In the verse above, I looked at the Greek translation and it defines “will” as being more toward God’s inclination. In other words, God is sovereign, and He can step in any time to deliver us from what the world throws at us. Why doesn’t He protect us and deliver us always? Why did our child die? Why do I have pain? Why is the money too short for the month? On and on and on come the “whys.”

There are many questions that we will never have answered here on earth. We can feed depression, fear, and hatred by allowing those questions to grow in our spirit, or we can trust in almighty God whose desire is for us to trust Him. Sure, we miss our loved ones here on earth, but we will not have that loneliness when we get to Heaven, which is our eternal home. We may be miserably in pain or in a wheelchair or otherwise debilitated, but we will be free of pain and encumbrances when we get to Heaven. We may struggle with paying our bills, or even be homeless, here on earth, but we have golden streets to walk on when we get to Heaven.

God’s will is that we come to know Jesus as our Savior. Period. His desire is that, once we are saved,  we walk close enough to Him by reading His word, fellowshipping with His people, and learning from His teachers, so that we are always doing what He desires for our lives. In that, we will put our faith in the things above and not in the misery of this earth.

Hear it like it is! And kneel.

People at the CrossAnd now, go, write it before them on a tablet and inscribe it in a book, that it may be for the time to come as a witness forever.  For they are a rebellious people, lying children, 
children unwilling to hear the instruction of the Lordwho say to the seers, “Do not see,”
 and to the prophets, “Do not prophesy to us what is right; speak to us smooth things,
 prophesy illusions,  leave the way, turn aside from the path, let us hear no more about the Holy One of Israel.

For thus said the Lord God, the Holy One of Israel, “In returning and rest you shall be saved; in quietness and in trust shall be your strength.””             Isaiah 30: 8-11, 15

We are comfortable in America. Oh, I know that we often get our hackles in an uproar at some of the injustice we see: racism, hatred, unfair practices, and the like. But if we truly look at what upsets us we find one central theme: Self.

In Isaiah, God advises the prophet to write down plainly that we are to follow ALL of His statutes, not just the ones that make us comfortable. We are going to get our toes stepped on; only because God loves us enough to not leave us in our sinful ways. He has prepared every word for us to live by and He means each word. Isaiah wrote, at God’s directive, that these words will “stand until the end of time as a witness that these people are stubborn rebels who refuse to pay attention to the Lord’s instructions.” He is talking to us in the forever.

We go to church expecting to be blessed, but we seldom go to church expecting to be admonished. When the preacher starts preaching about the evils of alcohol, homosexuality, unclean living, gossip, and dedication to God, we sit in our self – righteous pews and think, “Well, I wonder who he is pointing a finger at in this one!” By the way, I praise God for the preachers and teachers who tell it like God wants it told rather than bowing down to our own desires. There are so few. We want our seers (preachers, pastors, teachers, friends) to stop seeing visions and stop reminding us of what is right. We want to hear nice things; we want to hear that it’s OK to stray from the straight and narrow, “God will understand, because He is a forgiving God” we say to everyone. We have the “right” to live in sin, because we have eternal life through the salvation sacrifice that we accepted through Jesus Christ.

My Bible says in Romans 6: 1 – 5, “What shall we say then? Are we to continue in sin that grace may abound?  By no means! How can we who died to sin still live in it?  Do you not know that all of us who have been baptized into Christ Jesus were baptized into his death?  We were buried therefore with him by baptism into death, in order that, just as Christ was raised from the dead by the glory of the Father, we too might walk in newness of life.  For if we have been united with him in a death like his, we shall certainly be united with him in a resurrection like his.” 

Salvation is not a free – ticket to sin. Isaiah also reminds us that God sees what we do and His reply is, “Because you despise what I tell you and trust instead in oppression and lies, calamity will come upon you suddenly…you will be smashed like a piece of pottery.” 

We want our country to turn back to God and yet we are not willing to do what it takes to get America back on track. We pray for a leader who kneels and asks for God’s guidance each day, but then we quit praying and start doubting his every decision. We let fear take over instead of knowing that God has the bigger picture in place. Pray – Believe – Trust. We can’t let our own selfish ambitions, and this includes each of our heart – rendering concerns, to guide our relationship with God. We must constantly pray for our President, our Vice – President, our Congress, our Senate, our state and local leaders to make decisions based on communication with God. And we must trust God to hear and care.

The Word of God is given to us to pray through while we read. Read the Words each day and let the Holy Spirit guide those prayers. Speak the words aloud so that Satan knows you mean them. God knows the heart; Satan can only hear what we say. Can you imagine the power behind praying Isaiah 26: 1- 8 aloud for America, “In that day, everyone in America will sing this song: Our country is strong! America is surrounded by the walls of God’s salvation. We will open our gates to all who are righteous; we will allow the faithful in Jesus Christ to enter. And God, I know that You will keep us in perfect peace, because we trust in You and our thoughts are ever fixed on You! We will trust in You, always, Lord God. You are the eternal Rock for America. We trust You to bring down the strongholds of Satan and humble the proud, bring down the arrogant cities and build up the poor and the oppressed. Today, Lord, we commit to righteousness for your Name’s sake. We know that You are a God who does what is right, and you will smooth out the path before us. Lord, we trust you and we will show that trust by obeying your laws. Our heart’s desire is to glorify  your Name. Amen”

“This is what the Sovereign Lord, the Holy One of Israel (and America), says, “Only in returning to me and resting in me will you be saved. In quietness and confidence is your strength.”

We must hear. We must trust. We must kneel.

From Self – esteem to God – esteem: Introduction

Introduction – From Self esteem to God esteem

“From Self – esteem to God – esteem” is a book that was written to help new Christians find their way from salvation to righteousness. It is also for more mature Christians who are looking for a deeper relationship with Christ.

Join with me as as I read each chapter; don’t forget to subscribe to my YouTube channel so that you don’t miss a segment!

And if you would like to have your own copy, go to the Christian Writer page and order your own copy to write in as God reveals His plan to you.