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SATISFACTION IN LIFE


by Neil Anderson

July 28

2 Timothy 4:7 
I have fought the good fight, I have finished the course, I have kept the faith
 
Satisfaction in life comes from living righteously and seeking to raise the level of quality in the relationships, services and products you are involved with. Matthew 5:6 says, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” Do you really believe that? If you did, what would you be doing? You would spend more time feeding your spirit than trying to satisfy your fleshly desires. Have you ever tried to satisfy the flesh? It can’t be done. The more you feed it, the more it wants.
 
What causes you to become dissatisfied? It’s usually because the quality of the relationship, service or product has diminished. I often ask people when they became dissatisfied. Inevitably they identify the time when the quality of a relationship, the service rendered, or the product produced diminished.
 
Satisfaction is a quality issue, not a quantity issue. You will achieve greater satisfaction from doing a few things well than from doing many things in a haphazard or hasty manner. The key to personal satisfaction is not in broadening your involvements, but in deepening them through a commitment to quality.
 
The same is true in relationships. If you are dissatisfied in your relationships, perhaps you have spread yourself too thin. Solomon wrote: “A man of many friends comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother” (Proverbs 18:24). It may be nice to know a lot of people on the surface, but you need a few good friends who are committed to a quality relationship with each other. We all need the satisfaction which quality relationships bring.
 
Paul accomplished what he was called to do. He left a lot undone, but he fought the good fight, finished his course, and kept the faith. Jesus also left a lot undone, but He did His Father’s will and was able to say, “It is finished.” You may not be able to do all you want to do for Christ in your lifetime, but you can live obediently and faithfully day by day.
 
Prayer: Lord, I desire the satisfaction that comes from righteousness and quality in my relationships and activities.


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Two Sisters

Expectations. What we project on others; expecting them to behave, say, do as we think they ought to; which results in us being disappointed, upset, offended and angry when they do not behave as we want them to.

So often, we think that other people should be like us. We assume that they have the same perceptions and way of thinking that we do and become frustrated when it becomes apparent that they do not think like us. I was thinking of Martha and Mary in the infamous Luke 10:38-42 story. Jesus and everyone in His entourage descends on Martha’s house and this throws Martha into a frenzy of preparing food to be hospitable for everyone who walked through her door. I can understand Martha at that moment. I would probably do the same, except that maybe, I now have the option of ordering pizza. But, if Jesus walked through my doorway, I would worry if the house was all clean for Him, if my floors had been mopped or if they are sticky. And, I would definitely rope my husband into helping me make everything acceptable for Jesus.

So, I can understand Martha’s frustration with Mary. Of all the times to go and do nothing, this was not it! The injustice of having to do everything and not being given help to do it. I wonder if Martha was upset at Jesus for showing up and expecting her to do everything without help especially since He was encouraging Mary to sit and do nothing. Perhaps that was why Martha directed her question at Jesus, to ask Him to say something to get Mary up and moving. I can only surmise. But, Jesus did the opposite and instead, basically told Martha to do the same thing as Mary. Be still and know that He is God. 

Martha had been projecting her expectations on Mary, thinking that she should respond to Jesus’ arrival in the same manner as Martha did. She wanted Mary to do what she thought was the correct thing; doing based on her own ability and capacity. Martha probably figured that she had to do it all if it was going to get done at all and if she was not doing it, who would feed Jesus and His entourage? She had forgotten that Jesus is more than capable and able to make miracles happen. Martha was relying on her own ability and expected that Mary do the same thing, rather than to lean on and draw from Jesus’ strength and ability to get things accomplished. Which was why she was frustrated and flustered.

She had also forgotten that Jesus did not ask her nor expect her to do what she was doing.

Jesus, being the Son of God, was more than capable of feeding them all if He had to and by doing things in her own manner and by her own ability, Martha might have forfeited herself from being part of a miracle Jesus could have and might have performed right there in her house. She had thought that it was expected of her to do as she was doing, perhaps because society and good manners dictated it; but not only that, she had expected her sister to be like her and to behave in the same manner.

So often, we act like Martha, doing things because we thought we should as Christians because of others’ expectations, and then we think that others should do the same as us (I am not referring to sin here, or being disobedient to the Word of God) and when it does not happen in the way we expected, we get frustrated and upset. Or become self righteous. Instead, we need to find out what the better way is and do that, lean on Jesus and rely on His abilities rather than our own and rest in Him to know that He is God and more than able to accomplish that which He said He would do in our lives. Let us not get all riled up, frustrated, offended and upset because we have chosen to do things in our own abilities or based on other’s expectations and are now expecting others to do the same when they have chosen to go a better way.

Like Mary, let’s sit at His feet constantly, waiting for His direction, and His timing instead of working ourselves up in a frenzy and possibly missing out on a miracle that He would have done had we just waited on Him.


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Jumping in Muddy Puddles

Peppa Pig just LOVES jumping in muddy puddles! – Makes me wonder just how many of us like doing the same?

Muddy puddles come in all shapes and sizes and sometimes we don’t just love jumping in them but we wallow in them as well.

The muddy puddles of taking offence and hanging onto that offence is probably one of the biggest muddy puddles we will have to encounter in our lives.

Taking a guess, I would suggest everybody – every single one of us has at some point taken offence at some stage in their lives, some HUGE and some slight, regardless – offence is offence.

Some of us get so offended with others that we carry that offence or resentment for the rest of our lives. In other people the offence is hardly noticeable, they seem to able to brush it off like water on a ducks back.

Other people can put up with the most pointed offences, even personal attacks, bullying etc and can, even though they may get hurt in the process, recover quite quickly and seem to overlook it all and carry no spite at all to the offender.

So why do we get offended and what does God say about the ‘wallowing in offence’ that some us are prone to do?

Offence usual happens when someone says something to us, about us or about our family that we interpret or perceive to be insulting, wrong or just plain nasty! We could be blamed for something we didn’t do or something we failed to do and so we take offence.

We could interpret someones actions to be negative to us, to be inconsiderate or even plain thoughtless towards us. Anything can make us offended.

So offence can be pretty dangerous – it can isolate us from people and friends but more importantly it can isolate us from God and have a real impact on our very salvation, depending on how we cope with the offence and what we decide to do with it.

Some of us even become offended with God; blaming Him for not taking into consideration all of the ‘things’ we have done for Him, or “I gave my heart to God and look what happened’ syndrome.

We can see that offence is so wrong – in Matthew 18, Jesus tells us just how solemnly He looks at the sin of offence “It would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were drowned in the depth of sea” Jesus said of those who committed offence.

So what do we do when we are offended – should we reach for the millstone or do something about it?

Whether your offence is towards God or towards other people, the way you handle it can either make you  bitter and twisted or make you stronger and strange as it sounds the stronger you get the more humble you become.

Humility is the key to getting over offence! The proud find it so difficult and prefer to wallow in the mud of offence and unlike Peppa they don’t just like ‘jumping’ into muddy puddles, but rather wallow in the mud of offence until it gets into the very pause of their inner beings. 

Such people live in bitterness and anger, preferring confrontation with others and being the ‘victim’ in all situations. God can’t work with people like this; there is no room for God to grow this person; there is no room for such people to reach out to God either.

Where there is bitterness and offence, there you will find, frustration, unforgiveness and all sorts of envy and strife.

Alternatively with God working in your life there are the gifts of love, humility, patience, kindness and self control as mentioned in the Galatians 12.

Maybe as you have read this, you, like me have been reminded of your past relationships and some of the offences that may have occurred with them. Are there any that need to be ‘put right’?

If you have been ‘convicted’ of some offence in the past or present, make sure before you do anything to ask the Holy Spirit to guide you through and to make your thoughts and your tongue pure before Him.

Ask God to give you the wonderful gift of humility; a humility that will see you accept what the other says even though inside of you it may feel offensive. Ask God to give you patience and endurance and to offer that person the wonderful gift of your real love.

It’s definitely time to step out of the muddy puddle, clean yourself off, and like the prodigal son, come back to the Father. your relationship with him will be amazingly fulfilling; your relationship with others will never be the same – you will start to see them through the eyes of Jesus.

Stay quiet before God and allow Him to show you what you should do. Big blessings to you as you continue to grow in humility, forgiveness and in the handling of offence.

 


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A Reflection

I made it! Today marked a milestone in my short 18 years of living. I graduated high school! The last four years have been an incredible time of growing and maturing, ups, downs, and fellowship. I wouldn’t change a single one of those years (except maybe to add time to my senior year). So, I’m about to take you on a quick reflection on the last four years. 

Freshman year: Oh boy. What a big step. I remember walking into my first day of high school as a little immature and scared kid. Now it didn’t take me long to get comfortable, but it was a little nerve-racking for awhile. As I told a friend a few weeks ago, I made some mistakes almost right off the bat. I let the people I was around and my own selfish ambitions shape who I was becoming, how I talked, and how I thought. Somewhere along the right I got back to who I was and I remembered Who I represented. God made me (and everyone of you) for a particular purpose. I forgot that for a time. Freshman year is when I started strengthening the friendships I began over my elementary and junior high career. I lost some friends, but I guess that happens. 

Sophomore year: Honestly, I dont recall much of my sophomore year. At least, nothing major really stick out for me. This was the first time I spoke at church though! That was more nerve-racking than my first day of high school for sure! 

Junior year: Wow. This was probably the hardest year I had academically. I was so busy with classes that legitimately challenged me. My intention here is not to brag, but school has always come fairly easily for me. I make good grades and most of what I learn will stick with me for quite awhile. Junior year was a test and I passed. I continue to do well in school and make friends. Some of those friends that made a lasting impact on me will be discussed in a minute. Junior year is really when I started maturing both as a person and in my faith. 

Senior year: This year was different than all the rest. I took a couple dual credit classes at a local university. That was a great experience! I also spent a lot of time in the front office (my school as a class where I got to work in the front office). I’m extremely glad I chose to do that (again I’ll tell you more about that in a moment). This year was incredibly fun and exciting! I met some new friends, I made a college decision, and obviously graduation was huge! As for my college decision, I will be attending Moody Bible Institute in Chicago with the intent of going into some sort of ministry field after college. I have to do my first year online because of limited space on campus, but I have a good shot of moving to Chicago in the Fall of 2015. 

Friends that made a lasting impact: Now don’t get me wrong. I have a ton of friends that I will never forget. The thing is, if I wrote about all of them, I might as well write a book. I could fill pages. I’ll spare you the time and effort by just writing about a few that are really the closest to me. 

First, my brother and I have really formed the relationship brothers should have. We used to fight a lot as kids. We didn’t get along. Yes, it’s normal for sibling to quarrel. But, we just never got really close until around my eighth grade year. Maybe even my freshman year. The point is, now we are best friends. We set aside what was hindering our relationship from progressing and allowed our faith in Jesus to shape our friendship. I love Joey and I’m grateful for the relationship we have now. 

I have another friend named Craig. I knew Craig a little bit in elementary because we played on the same sports teams and of that good junk. He didn’t go to the same school though until eighth grade. What I love most about my friendship with Craig is the fact that I’ve gotten the opportunity to watch him grow in his walk with Christ. I don’t claim to have any huge part in that growth, but I’ve been completely delighted when we have had the opportunity to discuss the Word and I’ve been delighted when he has had questions about God that I was able to give him an answer to. He’s really been an encouragement to me through the years! He knows what it takes, or rather Who it takes to live the Good Life. He’s got a bright future ahead of him. 

Like Craig, I’ve knew the next guy just a little in elementary. Trace also came to my school in eighth grade. Trace is an incredible athlete! I know if he works hard, he can achieve a lot both in life and in his future athletic endeavors. Through high school, Trace and I would poke fun at each other (always in a friendly way, of course!), but he has also been an encouragement. Just watching how hard he works to be the best he can be is what has encouraged me the most. I wish him nothing but the best! 

The next friend is Drake. To be quite honest and a little blunt, Drake is good at aggravating people. It isn’t often I show frustration and anger in public, but at times Drake has successfully brought it out of me. And on purpose I might add! Regardless, he quickly became one of my best friends. Even though we spent much of our time together joking with each other, he’s always been a person I could talk to just to get things off my chest. All of these friends that I have listed (and the last one I will list) are people I can talk to if I need to. We’ve both share a love for golf. Now, Drake is better at golf than I’ll ever be, but I still enjoy the game. I remember one particular time on the golf course, we had a pretty serious discussion in which we basically shared some of the history in our lives. I won’t get into the actual conversation we had because it was just a talk between he two of us. However, the point is that that is a moment that really stuck out to me. 

Finally, the last friend I’m going to talk about. I’ve rambled enough. :) I met this girl for the first time this year. In the front office. Yep. Remember that blow off class I was talking about? It ended up being a bigger blessing than I thought possible. Saylor is an all-around incredible person. Just about every time I’ve been around her, she either laughing at random things, smiling about something, or blankly staring at me because I said something incredibly stupid. Many times this year when I’ve been stressed or down about something, she’s been able to lift me up just because of her attitude. She didn’t know it of course, but just being around her often brightened my day. I looked forward to that time in the office every day just because of the fun and uplifting time I knew was coming. I’ve only known Saylor for a year, but I’m glad I met her and I thank God for her daily. I hope we can continue to grow closer as individuals. 

I thank God for all of these relationships I have managed to make over the years. God is good! My time in high school has shaped me and matured me into the person I am now. My faith has grown tremendously as well! Again, there are many more friends I could talk about, but time would not permit me to do so. I sincerely hope to remain in contact with all of the ones I listed as I enter my college career and beyond. I know many classmates and other relationships formed in high school often lose contact after one or both people graduate. It’s just a fact of life. But you can bet that I will do everything within my power to keep in contact with my friends. 

I think this verse fits well for the relationships God has blessed me with:

“Two are better than one,
    because they have a good return for their labor:
If either of them falls down,
    one can help the other up.
But pity anyone who falls
    and has no one to help them up.”- Ecclesiastes 4:9-10

 

-Austin


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FREE FROM THE FEAR OF DEATH


by Neil Anderson

June 12

1 Corinthians 15:55 
O death, where is your victory? O death, where is your sting?
 
Most phobias can be reduced to a fear of man or death. Death looms over many as the ultimate fear-object. The fact that death is imminent is clearly established in Scripture: “It is appointed for men to die once and after this comes judgment” (Hebrews 9:27).
 
But Christians need not fear death. Jesus removed death as a legitimate fear-object by taking away its power when He died for our sins. Jesus Himself said, “I am the resurrection and the life; he who believes in Me shall live even if he dies, and everyone who lives and believes in Me shall never die” (John 11:25, 26). Even though we will eventually die physically, we will continue to live spiritually.
 
Every child of God is spiritually alive, and even physical death cannot separate us from the love of God (Romans 8:38). Paul says, “For to me to live is Christ and to die is gain” (Philippians 1:21). Why? When we physically die, we will receive a resurrected body and be far better off than we are today. Try putting something else into Paul’s formula; for instance, “For me to live is success.” Then to die would be what? Loss! “For me to live is a good physical body.” Again, to die would be loss.
 
I often ask people, “What is the worst thing that could happen to you?” “Well, I could die,” they answer. To which I respond, “Then you have nothing to fear, since the Bible says death may be the best thing that could happen to you!” The ultimate value is not physical life but spiritual life. If our life is hidden in Christ, then we won’t suffer loss when we physically die. We can only gain. We can say confidently with Paul, “O death where is your sting?” The person who is free from the fear of death is free to live today.
 
Prayer: Thank You, Lord, that You have freed me to live fully in the here and now. I leave the time of my departure in Your hands.
Gentle Answer


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A Gentle Answer Is Always Wise

Gentle Answer

When anger rises within you, consider the power found within a softly spoken word. An enemy who is hard of hearing and unable to hear shouts of fury will strive to hear a whisper. Although you may FEEL like yelling out your complaints, you will get more notice and consideration if you avoid harsh words and an unfriendly tone.

“A gentle answer turns away wrath, but a harsh word stirs up anger.”     Proverbs 15:1 (NIV)

“A hot-tempered person stirs up conflict, but the one who is patient calms a quarrel.”   Proverbs 15:18 (NIV)

Using a gentle answer in the midst of an irritating situation, problem, or quarrel will propel you forward in your attempt to remedy a matter of contention. Angry words and a loud reply only serve to stir up conflict and cause delays to possible solutions. One who has the self-control to remain patient and calm during an argument is wise and perceptive.

“Fools give full vent to their rage, but the wise bring calm in the end.”      Proverbs 29:11 (NIV)

If emotions are on the rise and anger is in the picture, you can be sure that “FOOT AND MOUTH DISEASE” is close at hand. Saying something you will regret later is very probable if you let your feelings rule a situation. It is a fool who speaks words without considering their long-term affect.

Is it easy to calm yourself and speak words of love when you are angry? No.

Is it a sign of maturity when you think before you speak? Yes.

Is maintaining inner peace while addressing conflict a sign that the fruit of the spirit is evident in your life?  Yes.

Can you take back hurtful words once they have been uttered and pitched? No.

Can forgiveness follow harshly spoken words? Yes.

Did Jesus use patience and soft answers with His disciples? Yes.

Is the saying, “Sticks and stones will break my bones but words will never harm me” true? No, Not at all!

We are called to love. We are told to witness with gentleness and respect. Speaking with unkind words or a tone of voice that sends shivers down the back is not love. Love speaks the truth but it is always patient and kind.

“If someone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen, how canhe love God whom he has not seen?” 1 John 4:20 (NKJV)

The next time you find yourself in an argument, pretend you are looking in a mirror. Observe your face. Would your expression put someone on the defensive? Can you see love and honesty in your eyes? How would you react if you were talking to a person wearing this face?

Words can be destructive or life giving, toxic or encouraging. They have the power to bind up or set free. What will your words serve up today, misery and heartache or exultation and delight?

“The words of the reckless pierce like swords, but the tongue of the wise brings healing.” Proverbs 12:18 (NIV)

“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, self-control. Against such there is no law.”      Galatians 5:22 (NKJV)


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A Love Like No Other

I post this blog every year at this time of year, so I will do it again! :)

Matthew 27:32-56: 32 As they were going out, they met a man from Cyrene, named Simon, and they forced him to carry the cross. 33 They came to a place called Golgotha (which means The Place of the Skull). 34 There they offered Jesus wine to drink, mixed with gall; but after tasting it, he refused to drink it.35 When they had crucified him, they divided up his clothes by casting lots. 36 And sitting down, they kept watch over him there. 37 Above his head they placed the written charge against him: THIS IS JESUS, THE KING OF THE JEWS. 38 Two robbers were crucified with him, one on his right and one on his left. 39 Those who passed by hurled insults at him, shaking their heads 40 and saying, “You who are going to destroy the temple and build it in three days, save yourself! Come down from the cross, if you are the Son of God!”

41 In the same way the chief priests, the teachers of the law and the elders mocked him. 42 “He saved others,” they said, “but he can’t save himself! He’s the King of Israel! Let him come down now from the cross, and we will believe in him. 43 He trusts in God. Let God rescue him now if he wants him, for he said, ‘I am the Son of God.’” 44 In the same way the robbers who were crucified with him also heaped insults on him.

The Death of Jesus

45 From the sixth hour until the ninth hour darkness came over all the land. 46 About the ninth hour Jesus cried out in a loud voice, “Eloi, Eloi, lama sabachthani?”—which means, “My God, my God, why have you forsaken me?”

47 When some of those standing there heard this, they said, “He’s calling Elijah.”

48 Immediately one of them ran and got a sponge. He filled it with wine vinegar, put it on a stick, and offered it to Jesus to drink. 49 The rest said, “Now leave him alone. Let’s see if Elijah comes to save him.”

50 And when Jesus had cried out again in a loud voice, he gave up his spirit.

51 At that moment the curtain of the temple was torn in two from top to bottom. The earth shook and the rocks split. 52 The tombs broke open and the bodies of many holy people who had died were raised to life. 53 They came out of the tombs, and after Jesus’ resurrection they went into the holy city and appeared to many people.

54 When the centurion and those with him who were guarding Jesus saw the earthquake and all that had happened, they were terrified, and exclaimed, “Surely he was the Son of God!”

55 Many women were there, watching from a distance. They had followed Jesus from Galilee to care for his needs. 56 Among them were Mary Magdalene, Mary the mother of James and Joses, and the mother of Zebedee’s sons.

Jesus went through torture beyond any of our imaginations. He went through personal humiliation, physical pain, and spiritual anguish. The worst of all was probably the suffering that came in verse 46. He experienced separation from God. That is the ultimate consequence of sin. Separation. Spiritual death. I can’t even imagine what he went through at that moment. The weight of sin for everyone who ever lived, was living, and would live was upon him at that moment. That full amount of God’s wrath was on Jesus. Jesus had never sinned, but God made him to be sin for us (2 Corinthians 5:21). God’s Son, the Creator of the universe, was rejected by His creation and isolated from His Father. The separation had to be the worst suffering of all. The wrath of God was satisfied.  Because of Jesus’ suffering, we are restored to a right relationship with God if we accept His FREE gift of salvation.

According to John’s account (John 19:30) of Christ’s death, what Jesus said in verse 50 was “It is finished.” These words mark the end of his suffering. It marks the completion of Jesus’ mission to restore us to a right relationship with the Father. At the time Jesus Christ died, the “curtain of the temple” was torn from top to bottom. This symbolizes that the way into God’s presence was now open. Because of what Jesus did, we have permanent access to God for all those who give their lives to Christ.

Just one person’s sin would’ve been enough to put Him on the cross. ‎”A cross, 3 nails, the weight of my sin, loneliness, pain and sorrow. That was on my Savior’s,”to do list”,for today. I am the cause.”

“It was my sin that held him there. Until it was accomplished. His dying breath has brought me life. I know that it is finished.”

Jesus did all of this out of love. When He was hanging on that cross He was thinking of you. He gave salvation to anyone who comes into contact with His saving and delivering power. He paid the ultimate sacrifice so that we don’t have to be separated from God anymore. We now can have a relationship with Him through Jesus Christ.

“It wasn’t the nails that held Jesus to the cross, it was love.”

-Austin


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Forgive? You’re Kidding Me, Right?

Hug it out

(Hugging it out…)

The concept of forgiveness can be a hard thing to digest.  If someone wronged us, granting forgiveness can feel almost as if we’ve been hit twice.  The first time when we were so generously issued the wrong-doing; the second when we struggled to set-aside our ill-feelings and extended the gift of forgiveness.  After all, he/she may have deserved anything but a gift.

Our minds cannot grasp some acts deserving forgiveness.  Can you think of something that has been or would be hard to forgive?  I’m sure you could—I just thought of three in about five seconds flat.  Forgiveness doesn’t always appear justifiable.  Why should we let our perpetrator off the hook?  Withholding forgiveness can deceivingly present itself as our last hope to even the stakes.  However, is keeping the culprit on that hook really enforcing justice … or do we feel the weight ten-fold from supporting the hook itself?

 “Forgiving those who hurt us is the key to personal peace.”

~ G. Weatherly

This residual weight strapped to our shoulders is not only a nuisance, but can be draining, tormenting, and even suffocating.  To choose to carry this pain can feel as if the incident is recurring with each passing day.  Neither party wins.

My Glimpse in the Mirror

I’ve recently asked myself, “Where would I be if I was never granted forgiveness for my own transgressions?”  Sadly, the answer wasn’t pretty.  We all appreciate forgiveness for our mistakes.  God forgives us over and over again every single day.  Upon acknowledgement of our blunder and a sincere request for forgiveness, His mercy awaits.  So wouldn’t it be hypocritical not to reciprocate this generosity to others?  

“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” 

Ephesians 4:31-32  

(NIV)

We are left with a choice:  do we forgive, or do we carry the weight?  It’s not an easy decision.  Given we make the decision to forgive, our next step(s) toward allowing that act to transpire can be even harder.  Here’s where prayer comes in, asking God to locate the strength and perspective within us to not only want to forgive but also follow through with that desire, surrendering to His wisdom when our need for justice yanks us backward.  We give our Father our torment and baggage and embrace the metamorphous of our heart.  We do this each and every day, over and over again until we are able to welcome this road as if no other choice had ever been appealing.  We simply can’t do it alone.

But How Often Should We Have to Forgive?

Ever feel like your forgiveness is constant?  Why do we continue to hand out forgiveness—shouldn’t we reach a threshold at some point?  We don’t have a limited bank of forgiveness to grant.  God emulates for us limitless love, grace and mercy.  He doesn’t issue this sparingly.  Forgiveness is a choice, not a well that will run dry.  The option will always be available.  So what stops us from giving it?  Only ourselves.

“Then Peter came to Jesus and asked, ‘Lord, how many times shall I forgive my brother when he sins against me? Up to seven times?‘ Jesus answered, ‘I tell you, not seven times, but seventy-seven times.’”

Matthew 18: 21-22

(NIV)

Wow.  Seventy-seven times.  Does your mind present this as, “seventy-seven opportunities for another to take advantage of me”?  Or instead, “seventy-seven opportunities for personal peace”?  The choice is yours.

Always wishing you peace,

Alicia M. Smith

Twitter:  @AliciaMSmith7

 


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Bad Bosses and Irritating People, part I

Image

 

“For rulers are not a cause of fear for good behavior, but for evil. Do you want to have no fear of authority? Do what is good and you will have praise from the same; for it is a minister of God to you for good. But if you do what is evil, be afraid; for it does not bear the sword for nothing; for it is a minister of God, an avenger who brings wrath on the one who practices evil (Romans 13:3-4, NAS).”

“Never take your own revenge, beloved, but leave room for the wrath of God, for it is written, “Vengeance is Mine, I will repay,” says the Lord (Romans 12:19, NAS).”

 

Since we are called to be obedient, any rebellion against God’s word is as witchcraft as we read in I Samuel 15:23: “For rebellion is as the sin of divination (witchcraft), and insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry.” When Yahweh instructs His holy people to submit to authority, good or bad, we are to do it with joy knowing that God (not the person) will repay/reward us in due season. We must view obedience and submission to a bad boss as unto the Lord, not as unto man.

 Colossians 3:23: “And whatsoever ye do, do it heartily, AS TO THE LORD, and NOT UNTO MEN.”

I often think of Joseph. He had to submit to rulers that were set against God; he was a slave to an Egyptian (the enemy of the Israelite’s and God). When propositioned by Potiphar’s wife, a beautiful woman, Joseph refused because of His dedication to God, not his dedication to Potiphar. Joseph did not argue or defend himself to Potiphar when falsely accused. He merely went to prison trusting that God had a better plan in store – he trusted God’s prophecy. In addition, he served the Lord to the fullest extent while in prison instead of murmuring against and second-guessing God who had proclaimed greatness over him. Humility in tough situations is something completely supernatural – of Holy Spirit and not of the fleshly man.

Few accomplish this because most allow their flesh to rule instead of Holy Spirit within – an earthly (external) mindset instead of a Kingdom (eternal) mindset. It requires prayer and supplication (constant communion with and focus on Yeshua) at all times and in all things being willing to submit to God and trusting in His ways instead of seeing it only as unto the unreasonable boss or set of earthly rules.

Though no one has perfected this, myself included at times, isn’t it time we begin to purpose to walk in the ways of the Lord as unto God? We need to stop looking at the man/person (earthly), and look only The King, The Ruler (supernatural); but instead, we look only at what pleases or displeases us in the moment. To usurp authority positioned by God in the earth is rebellion against God.

Humility in hard places is something completely supernatural – of Holy Spirit, not of the fleshly man. It requires prayer and supplication (constant communion with and focus on the Lord) at all times and in all things being willing to submit to God and trusting in His way instead of seeing it only as unto the unreasonable boss, person, people or set of earthly rules.

“If you love Me, you will keep My commandments (John 14:15, NAS).”

“But it shall come about, if you do not obey the Lord your God, to observe to do all His commandments and His statutes with which I charge you today, that all these curses will come upon you and overtake you (Deuteronomy 28:15, NAS).”

I hope you’ll come back next week as we continue to explore the subject of humility with bad bosses and irritating people. If you’re interested in reading more on this subject, please go to my website and check out my books.

Peace and blessings,

Alexys V. Wolf

thefierysword@windstream.net

www.thefierysword.com

https://www.facebook.com/pages/The-Fiery-Sword-Global-Ministries/185299884822251

http://thefierysword.wordpress.com/


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Love that Never Ends

We’ve all fallen, haven’t we? We’ve all had bad days. Problems in life. Stress. Confusion. We all just have struggles in general. It’s in those times that we feel like we can’t get to God. Our problems and our struggles hold us back from communing with Him. However, Psalm 51:17 tells us something different: 

“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.”

As David is writing this and praying this, he knows that all he can offer God is a broken heart. Because, honestly, that’s all we have. Our heart, our soul is the only thing we really own. Everything else will stay behind when you enter eternity. So, the only thing we can truly offer God is our heart. That’s not much, is it? I don’t know about you, but I don’t think I’m anything special. I know that I’ve failed time and time again. The thing is, God accepts what we offer him when we do it with everything we have. When we really mean it, He eagerly accepts our offerings. And they thrill Him because that’s all He wanted in the first place. He wants fellowship with the very people He gave the breath of life. 

I hope this short post has encouraged you tonight! God bless!

-Austin

“Well my love is over
It’s underneath
It’s inside
It’s in between 

The times that you’re healing
And when your heart breaks
The times that you feel like you’ve fallen from grace 

The times you’re hurting
The times that you heal
The times you go hungry and are tempted to steal 

In times of confusion
In chaos and pain
I’m there in your sorrow under the weight of your shame 

I’m there through your heart-ache
I’m there in the storm
My love I will keep you by my power alone 

I don’t care where you’ve fallen or where you have been
I’ll never forsake you
My love never ends”- Tenth Avenue North