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Posts Tagged ‘obey’

To Be Continued

We all have a story to tell. Never mind the beginning chapters; how will your story end?

Will it end with you being the same way – broke down, lost and confused – that you were at the beginning of the book? Or will you end on a triumphant note, standing tall, knowing at last who you are, why you were created, and where you’re headed.

The first few chapters of your novel may be painful, filled with all sorts of emotional issues and baggage weighing you down. Page 119 might take us with you on your treacherous journey through quicksand, but page 207 might find us standing along side you on solid, not sinking, ground.

That’s your story.

Someone else’s story might take them a little longer to reach victory. We may have to suffer with them through 300 pages of stumbling across rocky ground. And page 305 might find them still stumbling.

To those I say, put on the whole armour of God. The enemy is not playing with you. You need to get geared up.

Ephesians 6:13-17 tells us, “Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:” (KJV)

Can you see the metaphor? The whole armour of God – that’s the protection of God in the form of His truth, righteousness, peace, faith, and Word (Bible). Clinging to all of these becomes our armour, our protection. It’s no wonder that we are told in Isaiah 54:17, “No weapon that is formed against thee shall prosper;…”

How will your story end? How do you want it to end? Surrender yourself to Jesus Christ. Trust and obey Him. He will grant you everlasting life – and that’s what I call a happy ending!

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A Truthful Life

We are always a work in progress. But through Christ’ strength, we can live a blameless life.

The Word tells us that if we will humble ourselves in the sight of the Lord, He will lift us up.  (James 4:10 KJV)

It calls for a surrendering of our own will and an obedience to Christ. 

By His lifting us up, Christ proves Philippians 4:13 -“I can do all things through Christ which strengtheneth me” – to be true. 

Yes, we are constantly a work in progress. But if we say we love the Lord, let us not make excuses for unjustifiable behavior. Let us continue striving to stay on the pathway of righteousness, settling for nothing less than a truthful life.

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Have you ever been determined to stop some bad habit? Something that you know you shouldn’t be doing, but you’ve continued doing it anyway?

Maybe it’s behaving in a rude and attitudinal manner. Maybe it’s stealing, cheating, lying. Maybe you actively listen to somebody gossiping about someone else while you tell yourself, “I’m not the one gossiping. I’m just listening.” It could be any number of things depending on who you are.

We’ve all been there. We’ve entered into our places of employment wound up so tight that it was difficult to even say a pleasant, ‘Good morning’. At one time or another, we’ve stood in the middle of a circle, on the sidelines, or sat in a chair and passively listened while someone else dragged another person’s reputation through the mire. Then, when the destroyer of reputations was finished. We just shook our heads, and didn’t say a word. But silence does not exempt us. In fact, it’s just the opposite…our silence makes us a party to the crime.

Change is hard. I know. It has to be a learned behavior because our tendency is to snap at someone else when we’re in a bad mood. Our tendency is to pull up a chair in eager anticipation of hearing something about someone else’s character that’s worse than our own. Somehow, it makes us feel superior. We’re glad that it’s not us they’re talking about. But it will be. Next time.

Feeling superior to someone else is a deceitful form of reassurance. Because the reality is that “all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God;” Romans 3:23

When I acknowledge my sinfulness and/or a specific sin, I go to God in prayer asking for His forgiveness. He hears me because I have an active relationship with Jesus Christ. He forgives me because I have surrendered to Jesus and have made Him the Lord and Savior of my life. The Lord strengthens me, and as he renews me my old behaviors are stripped away and new behaviors take their place. A new me emerges. One that has long since stopped taking part in any form of gossip. One that wishes to treat others with the most basic of human niceties, one that wishes to be kind and strives to be more like Christ each day.

Do you want to be more like Jesus Christ? You may be able to change some old behaviors, but you cannot – of your own strength – attain to a level of living that is pleasing to God without first surrendering your old self to Jesus Christ. You must surrender to Jesus first, and then He will lift you up!

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Where are your treasures stored?  Are they locked behind a heavy metal vault at the bank?

Are they hidden somewhere in your home?

Maybe they’re secured away in the form of CD’s.

Maybe you wear them everyday on your fingers, wrist, and around your neck.

Maybe you put them on your feet and on your body.

Maybe you drive it everyday.

Or maybe you sit back, relax, and watch it as often as you can.

Jesus said, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and thieves break through and steal: but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”  Matthew 6: 19-21

It’s wonderful if you’ve been able to accumulate treasures of financial worth here on earth, but what treasures have you amassed in Heaven?  Take an inventory of your earthly and heavenly treasures.

Which one outweighs the other?

If you have more treasures stored up on earth than you do in Heaven, it’s time to re-prioritize.  Our earthly treasures will not follow us when we die, but our lack of heavenly treasures will, and by then it will be too late to make amends with the One who will judge us all.

Remember what Jesus said.  “…for where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”

Where is your heart?  Is it with Jesus or is it completely entangled with the materialisms of this world?

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Believe

How can you believe God?

–  By not just reading, but also studying His Word, the Bible.  God has proven   Himself many times throughout it.

– By listening to a man of God preach the True Gospel.  (This goes back to studying God’s Word.  Know the truth so you won’t be misled.)

–  By talking with your friend, mother, brother, sister, husband, wife, child, or stranger who is saved, and who wants to lead you to an active relationship with Jesus Christ as well.

God has provided us with many ways to hear and receive His Word.  We need only to be willing and open to receiving it.

If you don’t have the desire in your heart to know God, it would be a good idea to ask Him to put the desire there for you.

If you are not willing to know Him, nothing can happen until you are.  He will not force Himself upon you.  But God knows your heart, and only He alone can change it…for you…and for the better.

Some people want to do things their way.  They don’t want anyone – including God – telling them how they should live.

How ironic it is that we would not want the One who created us telling us how we should live…

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