Monthly Archives: November 2018

Who is Sharpening You?

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

 Did you ever wonder why someone is your relative, friend or part of your circle of acquaintances? As we contemplate the celebration of Thanksgiving and as we look forward to the possibly of spending more time with some of the same people at Christmas, we may want to sit with God and ponder the purpose of our relationships – the good, the bad and the ugly!

If we believe God has a plan and that plan is good, then we must assume the people placed in our lives are there for a reason – the reason being ultimately good. So what does that mean for each of us?

Most people have a variety of relationships – with a spouse , children, or siblings or cousins or aunts or uncle, or in-laws or a best friend from childhood. So why has God placed you with your spouse, your brother or sister, your parents, your relatives, your neighbor, your best friend, or your co-workers or acquaintances you keep running into? What does God have in mind for you?

As iron sharpens iron, so a friend sharpens a friend. Proverbs 27:17

One truth that is evident is that God gives us people who will help us grow in Him. We can see this principle played out in our own families. Ask yourself this question, “Am I closer to God than I was last year?” If so, then how so?

Did you have to struggle through an issue with your spouse or sibling or co-worker? Was it frustrating and hard – were their views different from yours? Do you feel like you made mistakes or you could have handled the struggle differently? Did you learn anything from the experience? Did you end up estranged from the person or did you end up closer to God or both?

Are you still angry at God and asking, “Why did that happen to me or why did you do that to me or why did you not save me from that?”

Do not get stuck in that cycle of self-pity. Set it aside. Remember who God is and His purpose for you. Then re-evaluate the situation in light of His goodness. Instead, think about how your relationship with others has sharpened you. Contemplate how you have grown in your love for God. Claim the power of His love by thanking Him for the experience and asking for help to carry on with this day – the day you are in.

As you look forward, remember those who are placed in your path and view them in light of God’s plan for you – plans to prosper you and not to harm you. Give Him praise and thanks for these people who are sharpening you with love, truth, and grace – even if they have no idea that they are part of God’s purpose for you and you are part of God’s purpose for them.

Head into today and tomorrow with anticipation that the people God places in your path are here for your “good” and not for your “harm”. Then, remember to allow yourself to be sharpened giving thanks in all situations for God’s love for you.

FAITH v. fear

For those who are led by the Spirit of God are the children of God. The Spirit you received does not make you slaves, so that you live in fear again; rather, the Spirit you received brought about your adoption to sonship.  And by him we cry, “Abba, Father.” The Spirit himself testifies with our spirit that we are God’s children. Now if we are children, then we are heirs—heirs of God and co-heirs with Christ, if indeed we share in his sufferings in order that we may also share in his glory. Romans 8:15-17 NIV

In other words, if you are a follower of Jesus then you have been set free by Jesus and are filled with the Holy Spirit – the Spirit of Truth. Remember the freedom you have received. Remember that faith is active – don’t make the mistake of just reading the scripture and then going off and doing it “on your own”.

Faith must be exercised in order for it to grow. If you are struggling to live life, then remember you are a child of God, filled with His Spirit who is void of fear! The fear inside of you is not of the Spirit of God. Get rid of it – actively choose to eliminate it – exercise your faith – by trusting God with your hardship.

If you are without a job or direction or purpose, remember you are not in bondage. You are free – free to live – free to thrive – free to learn and love and prosper. Exercise your faith. Take a step. Even if it turns out to be a “wrong” step, trust that God can handle it and steer you in the right direction.

Don’t allow fear to lie to you. Don’t allow bondage to cripple you. Remember you are a child of God’s, born of the His Spirit. Don’t let yourself be something less than God’s precious child.

It is worth hearing more of Romans Chapter 8 and maybe it helps if you hear it said a different way:

 Those who think they can do it on their own end up obsessed with measuring their own moral muscle but never get around to exercising it in real life. Those who trust God’s action in them find that God’s Spirit is in them—living and breathing God! Obsession with self in these matters is a dead end; attention to God leads us out into the open, into a spacious, free life. Focusing on the self is the opposite of focusing on God. Anyone completely absorbed in self ignores God, ends up thinking more about self than God. That person ignores who God is and what he is doing. And God isn’t pleased at being ignored.

But if God himself has taken up residence in your life, you can hardly be thinking more of yourself than of him. Anyone, of course, who has not welcomed this invisible but clearly present God, the Spirit of Christ, won’t know what we’re talking about. But for you who welcome him, in whom he dwells—even though you still experience all the limitations of sin—you yourself experience life on God’s terms. It stands to reason, doesn’t it, that if the alive-and-present God who raised Jesus from the dead moves into your life, he’ll do the same thing in you that he did in Jesus, bringing you alive to himself? When God lives and breathes in you (and he does, as surely as he did in Jesus), you are delivered from that dead life. With his Spirit living in you, your body will be as alive as Christ’s!

 So don’t you see that we don’t owe this old do-it-yourself life one red cent. There’s nothing in it for us, nothing at all. The best thing to do is give it a decent burial and get on with your new life. God’s Spirit beckons. There are things to do and places to go!

This resurrection life you received from God is not a timid, grave-tending life. It’s adventurously expectant, greeting God with a childlike “What’s next, Papa?” God’s Spirit touches our spirits and confirms who we really are. We know who he is, and we know who we are: Father and children. And we know we are going to get what’s coming to us—an unbelievable inheritance! We go through exactly what Christ goes through. If we go through the hard times with him, then we’re certainly going to go through the good times with him! Romans 8:5-17 The Message

REMEMBER, His plans are for you, not against you. So come on! Forget what you once were and focus on who you are in Christ. Step out in faith. Exercise what is inside of you. Don’t let fear or bondage hold you back. You are a child of God! You live with the Father and the Son through the Spirit each and every moment! AMEN.

Claim it!

God wants us to be passionate about what He is passionate about. He wants us to knock – to seek – to ask. He wants us to want what He wants – to be intimate in our relationship with Him. When we are able to understand this basic truth, a whole new life opens up. We then begin to understand that we are who He says we are – and it is good!

Listen to the beginning of the story of Nehemiah – about a man who grasped the passion of God with regard to His people living in Jerusalem and who sought His Will and asked for His help.

 The memoirs of Nehemiah son of Hacaliah.

It was the month of Kislev in the twentieth year. At the time I was in the palace complex at Susa. Hanani, one of my brothers, had just arrived from Judah with some fellow Jews. I asked them about the conditions among the Jews there who had survived the exile, and about Jerusalem.

They told me, “The exile survivors who are left there in the province are in bad shape. Conditions are appalling. The wall of Jerusalem is still rubble; the city gates are still cinders.”

When I heard this, I sat down and wept. I mourned for days, fasting and praying before the God-of-Heaven.

I said, “God, God-of-Heaven, the great and awesome God, loyal to his covenant and faithful to those who love him and obey his commands: Look at me, listen to me. Pay attention to this prayer of your servant that I’m praying day and night in intercession for your servants, the People of Israel, confessing the sins of the People of Israel. And I’m including myself, I and my ancestors, among those who have sinned against you.

“We’ve treated you like dirt: We haven’t done what you told us, haven’t followed your commands, and haven’t respected the decisions you gave to Moses your servant. All the same, remember the warning you posted to your servant Moses: ‘If you betray me, I’ll scatter you to the four winds, but if you come back to me and do what I tell you, I’ll gather up all these scattered peoples from wherever they ended up and put them back in the place I chose to mark with my Name.’

“Well, there they are—your servants, your people whom you so powerfully and impressively redeemed. O Master, listen to me, listen to your servant’s prayer—and yes, to all your servants who delight in honoring you—and make me successful today so that I get what I want from the king.”

I was cupbearer to the king.

Nehemiah Chapter 1 The Message

Nehemiah, a cup bearer to the king, a trusted and influential position, placed in the right place at the right time for the work God had for Him. God’s passion became Nehemiah’s passion. He sought after it through prayer and fasting – crying out to God in repentance and thankfulness. And God delivered.

What passion has God placed on your heart? How has He aligned you in the right place and at the right time to accomplish the work He has for you? Are you crying out – seeking – asking?

Remember, God created you in His Image. You are who He says you are. His passion is placed in you. Now, claim it – and watch God deliver!

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