Belonging

We need encouragement in our lives on a daily basis. We need someone to build us up and help us see our value and worth before the Lord. The devil and the world’s systems grind us down and wear us out. We need others in the body of Christ to remind us that we are God’s unique and irreplaceable creations, called to unique and irreplaceable places of ministry. We need to be reminded of God’s love for us and of our importance to the church.

Charles Stanley

When our children were younger and I would drop them off at school before they got out of the car I would say to them, “Remember who you are and Who you belong to.

As a believer in Christ your identity is in Jesus[.]. I know, I know, the world and the enemy clamor for our attention and we begin to look here, we look there, we look anywhere except up. It is vitally important that you and I stay connected to Jesus on a consistent basis practicing all the spiritual disciplines [I recently read there are at least twelve] throughout the day or by Holy Spirit’s leading. He is the only One who can help us keep our focus on Him.

Whatever your today and all your tomorrows hold I bless you with the knowledge and truth that Holy Spirit lives in you as a believer in Jesus and is available to you for whatever you need.

Shalom!

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Seeking Wisdom in the Right Place

May we not miss Wisdom and thereby injure ourselves. Rather let us love Wisdom finding favor with the Lord and living the abundant life Christ has given us as our inheritance here on earth.

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Shalom!

Whatever Happens

Whatever happens. This reminds me of a movie [not one in particular] but one where the characters have been fighting the good fight. All looks lost and the encouraging character says, whatever happens…

Whatever happens, conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ. Then, whether I come and see you or only hear about you in my absence, I will know that you stand firm in the one Spirit, striving together as one for the faith of the gospel

Philippians 1:27

Paul is encouraging the Philippians to stay strong amid the provoking, teasing and ill-treatment they were receiving and would continue to receive because of their proclamation of faith in Jesus and their commitment to share Him. Whatever happens.

Where I live and maybe where you live the ill-treatment we receive isn’t the possibility of stoning with large boulders or massive crowds surrounding us, taunting us with slurs and bodily harm [as Paul and the Philippians faced, however, this still happens in many parts of the world because faith in Jesus is against the law]

But, when you are provoked by the driver at the stop sign who doesn’t acknowledge you and simply drives through even though you arrived first. Or, you’re in that store or perhaps someone you thought you were building a friendly relationship with suddenly becomes curt and distant. How will you respond?

As believers in Christ we have the mind of Christ but do our thoughts, actions and how we live our life reflect this?

Are we allowing Holy Spirit to transform our mind to think like Him?

Are we putting on the full armor of God daily?

Specifically, are we putting on the helmet of salvation, which is the protection of our soul and also a picture of protecting our head where our mind and thoughts live?

Are we conducting ourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ?

Whatever happens?

Shalom!

Chariots of Fire

Can you see them? The eternal, ancient warriors of heaven and their chariots of fire?

Many times we forget about the spiritual realm around us and perhaps we’ve become desensitized. We aren’t talking much about the enemy and how his hatred toward us causes him to wage war against us. It isn’t hocus pokus and not meant to scare us. Talking about spiritual warfare is meant to place us in a strategic mode of defense so when situations arise that seem hopeless we don’t cower and hide but stand and fight!

As a believer in Jesus and a part of the Body of Christ we join the ancient chariots of fire and are THE mightiest force against the deceiver of our soul. Do you believe this?

Worship, praise and prayer become spiritual javelins, tent pegs and mallets, bows and arrows and spears.

Pick your weapons and use them daily. Attack and counter attack. Retreat and strike again and walk in victory earth as in heaven!

What’s your weapon of choice?

Doing Right or Living Righteously?

Several years ago I heard a well known Christian influencer say every word of God should be taken literally. While I presume to understand the sentiment behind this statement to be that if we believe the word of God is the inerrant truth we would then apply all of God’s word to our life.

Through the years I have reflected upon this statement and often wondered how this would look with many of God’s commands in the Old Testament. Certainly, we don’t have to offer daily sacrifices because Jesus death and shed blood took the place of this daily requirement. And not many of us have free open range where we raise sheep, rams and bulls for the sacrifices required by the ancient Israelites. Nor do we hold fast to the many festivals they were to celebrate.

So how is it we are to take the word of God, the entire word of God literally and apply it to our life practically? It is an issue of our heart. When we are staying connected to Jesus, especially through reading and studying His word, we are engaging with Him in dialogue. His word, which is literally Jesus Himself, is alive and active and if we allow Him the space He will transform us by the power of His Spirit. He begins to show us that the sacrifice is no longer what His shed blood has already covered [the sacrifices of the Old Testament] rather our sacrifice is offering our will to Him like the sweet fragrance of the perfume offered by Mary as she washed his feet with her tears and wiped them with her hair.

Do you practice righteousness? Do you know how to practice righteousness? Has anyone ever walked alongside you and modeled righteousness to you?

The words of 1 John 3:10 above can seem harsh at first glance but when we dig deeper and learn the original translation we find that anyone not practicing righteousness is not a child of God. Do you practice righteousness? Do you know how to practice righteousness? Has anyone ever walked alongside you and modeled righteousness to you? This is why choosing to be discipled and then discipling others is so important. One aspect of discipleship teaches us how to approach God’s word and begin to understand the marvelous things He wants to show us and how to apply them to our life for righteous living rather than taking His word out of context.

As a believer in Christ you are to be like Jesus [your character matching His]. The only way to be like Jesus is to spend time with Him and as you do your will becomes His will and you learn to love not only your brothers and sisters in Christ but a world population with an inherent desire to simply be known and loved.

Show His love to the world—stay connected to Him.

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Wednesday Encouragement

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Fear

Fear. It can be so crippling.

As a little girl we spent many summer weekends at Santa Cruz Beach in Northern California. I loved splashing and playing in the water right at the shoreline and in view of the watchful eyes of my parents. “Don’t go too far out,” they would call to me every so often. One weekend, not heeding their instructions, I ventured out a little further than normal. Suddenly, I was caught in a small undertow that began to pull me in. I remember being so afraid. To this day I have a very strong respect for the power of the ocean.

Thankfully, my daddy was watching. He was a strong swimmer and he quickly rescued me.

Many times when we hear Holy Spirit warning us we are like a little child, venturing a little further than normal. Suddenly we can find ourselves in a situation where we feel we are about to drown.

But you have a Heavenly Father who wants to rescue you. Call out to Him for help. I promise He is closer than you think. He reaches His hand out to you. Will you grab it?

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The Encouragement Project

How do you greet people when you see them? Maybe it’s with a smile or handshake, perhaps with a timid or hearty hug. Do you also verbally express your delight in seeing them with, “It’s good to see you or you look great!”?

To Timothy, my dear son:

Grace, mercy and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Lord.

2 Timothy 1:2

Throughout Paul’s writings and teachings his salutation expressed how much he cared for and loved the recipients of his words even when he had to include some hard truths. That is the core of discipleship, guiding each other back to the truth of God’s word and allowing Holy Spirit to convict us toward Christlike living. Because he loved Jesus and others so deeply Paul stepped out in courage and boldness. He was more concerned for the spiritual health of others than what others thought of him. Talk about knowing one’s identity in Jesus!

Paul was a wonderful encourager which led me to think how I could encourage others outside my sphere of influence. Without hesitation Holy Spirit dropped a thought into my mind—to send out cards of encouragement to churches around the world.

And, the Encouragement Project was started. It’s quite simple. I ask Holy Spirit who He wants to encourage and He highlights an area. I look up the churches in that area and He highlights a specific church. I write a short note of encouragement and place that in the mail.

Imagine with me the smiles and goodwill feelings those who read these notes must feel. Knowing God hears and sees them! With that, I challenge and encourage you to become a part of the Encouragement Project. I also encourage you to share this post not because I want traffic to my site but because I would love for others to have the opportunity to join in encouraging others. Imagine with me again how this one small sacrifice of our time could change the space, community and world around us making our living areas just a little bit sweeter. And, I guarantee you will feel joy for having spread some joy.

Shalom!

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