Giving God His Due part two

But if we are to know God, we must first approach Him in a manner that reflects His glory, holiness and almighty position of power. If we look at Jesus He approached the Father in a very specific manner. “Very early in the morning, while it was still dark, Jesus withdrew to a solitary place to be alone with God and pray (Mark 1:35 NIV).”

Jesus understood that He needed time in and with God to be refreshed and saturated in the Holy Spirit so that He could execute God’s perfect will. He spent time with God alone and separated from all distractions. We live in a 24/7 world and its so easy to be distracted by our phones, email and in my case my own rampant thoughts. Setting aside time and going to a private place shows God that we take our time with Him seriously.

When instructing the disciples on how to pray the Lord said “this then, is how you should pray: Our Father in heaven, hallowed by your name, your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven. Give us today our daily bread, and forgive us our debts as we also have forgiven our debtors. And lead us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. For if you forgive other people when they sin against you, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive others their sins, your Father will not forgive your sins” (Matthew 6:9-14 NIV).

We should approach God in reverence first and foremost because He is worthy. “The Lord is the everlasting God, the Creator of all the earth…no one can measure the depths of His understanding” (Isaiah 40:28 NIV). As we reflect on and acknowledge God’s majesty and omnipotence our own hearts are humbled “but to this one I will look, to him who is humble and contrite of spirit, and who trembles at My word (Isaiah 66:2).”

A humble heart is pleasing to God and allows us to hear from Him. Our time in prayer should refresh us as an opportunity to hear and be encouraged by God as we walk away fully submitted to His will. In the Lord’s prayer He focuses on God’s sovereignty, His all-powerful will, daily provision and our need for His forgiveness.

Help us Lord to enter into prayer with a servant’s heart full of adoration for you, not as something we need to check off our to-do list, but as a privilege paid for by the blood of Christ. Help us to be grateful for the blessed honor of coming before you the I Am that I Am. In the end prayer is the way that we have communication with God and build a relationship with the one true God who first loved us.

Giving God His Due part one

If you met the Queen of England you wouldn’t just stroll up to her and say ‘what’s up’.  There are formal rituals in place to ensure that we address them in a respectful way to honor her title. According to the Royal family’s website you would curtsy and refer to her as ‘Your Majesty.’

It’s interesting; when we meet royalty or celebrities we get so excited and are so in awe of their title or talent. But when we come before the God of the Universe who sent His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him shall not perish but have everlasting life (John 3:16 KJV) we take Him for granted.

Just this week, I have been guilty of treating God and my time in prayer like a drive through hopping in the express lane because I don’t have ‘time’ to cultivate a true relationship. If a friend called and the first thing he/she said was ‘hey can you spot me $20’ and then hung out we would be completely offended. How dare they call me, not even bother with niceties and then have the nerve to ask for my money.

But how often do we do that with God, treating Him like an ATM machine when we could, by the blood of Jesus, build a relationship with the one true God. Yet we settle for keeping God at arm’s length because we believe our own lies that we’re too ‘busy’ but in reality our hearts have just grown cold to the voice of God.

How mind-blowing is it that we as sinful humans can be redeemed and truly know God. How amazing is it that the almighty, most Holy, righteous God desires for us to know Him in the first place. 

Good Girl Gone Wrong part 2

When we believe Satan’s lies that our sins ‘really aren’t that bad’ we fall into a prideful mindset that like the Pharisees can harden our hearts to the Holy Spirits promptings for repentance. When Jesus healed the man on the Sabbath day,  He performed a miracle right before their eyes but they missed it due to their legalistic blinders. Jesus called them white washed tombs, because they looked put together on the outside but were spiritually dead inside.

As a child a homeless man once came into my church and sat down next to me. My first thought was that he smelled and his clothes were dirty, didn’t he know to get himself together before he came here! I saw the side stares and rude glances from the people around me and knew I wasn’t alone in my negative estimation of him. The judgment eventually because too much and he left. I immediately felt so guilty because maybe he wasn’t physically clean but he had a heart for God and came as he was. His dirt may have been on the outside but all of us were just as dirty, messed up and desperate for God’s grace we were just better at making our dirty look and smell pretty.

We have all fallen short of the glory of God, no matter what the sin none of us is worthy of God’s forgiveness, His unconditional love and Jesus’ ultimate sacrifice. We have to pray to see people the way God sees them, to look at the heart instead of the outward appearance. Jesus has given us the power, through His awesome love and the Holy Spirit, to live fruitful lives that will honor Him “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit–fruit that will last” (John 15:16 NIV). I pray going into the New Year that I would be refined by the Holy Spirit and bear fruit for the kingdom, not to look good for or to others, but so that I can please the only One that is worthy Jesus Christ. 

Praying for a safe and blessed New Year for everyone! 

Good Girl Gone Wrong part 1

When it came to being a good Christian girl, I thought I had it all figured out. I abstained from sex, didn’t smoke, curse or walk around with my chest hanging out (mainly because I didn’t have one). I assumed that people who did those things lacked self-control especially when there were so many better things to do like late night Harry Potter debates ( i.e. was Snape really a villain in Harry Potter). I still struggled with low self-esteem, unrequited love for a classmate & genuine teen angst but I thought had the good girl routine on lockdown.

Until my first night at college where I wound up at a frat house where everyone was drinking jungle juice and said frat guy’s apartment at 3am, wondering how I’d gone from board games to this and grateful that in both situations just saying no was enough. As Christians we can get so focused on what not to do that we forget what to do. As my pastor said “the goal of the Christian life is not to abstain from evil but to be fruitful.” A fruitful life is measured by what we do for the kingdom and God’s glory. It is important that we “hold on to what is good, reject every kind of evil. May God himself, the God of peace, sanctify you through and through. May your whole spirit, soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus,” (1 Thessalonians 5:21-23 NIV) so that we can be a light to this world.

But being a light does not mean not having sex or not getting drunk it also means not lying, being lazy, lust-filled, lukewarm, rude or greedy. There are so many sins that I struggled with including selfishness and gossiping yet because I wasn’t doing the ‘big two’ I thought I was pleasing God. In the church we have become very good at placing certain sins on pedestals as being worse than others and Satan will whisper in our ears, ‘so what you lied to your boss or cheated on that test its not like you robbed a bank or committed abortion’. But the first part of 1 John 5:17 says “all unrighteousness is sin” in God’s eyes sin is sin and it is only by His immeasurable grace and mercy that, through the blood of Jesus, we can be forgiven. 

Don’t Let Me Get Me part 2

When Satan attempts to use our latest failures, mistakes and backsliding to destabilize our faith and confidence in our relationship with Christ we must remind ourselves that we are His chosen bride (2 Corinthians 11:2). God created our innermost being and knit us together in our mother’s womb (Psalm 139: 13 NIV). He knows every frustration and weakness but He also knows every triumph and strength, nothing that we go through or struggle with is a secret to God. He has a holy plan for our lives and loves us in spite of ourselves. As Paul states our liberation is in Christ, He alone set us free when He died for us on the cross and His love has everything to do with His infinite grace and mercy and nothing to do with our own shortcomings praise God! We will never be worthy of God’s amazing love and forgiveness but that should push us closer to not farther away from Him.

God’s mercy towards us doesn’t mean we should be comfortable living with sin and get complacent i.e. it’s ok that I frequently lose my temper, am selfish or mess around physically with my boyfriend the Lord knows that’s a weak area for me. 1 John 1:9 tells us to “confess our sins, He is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness.” We don’t want to be at ease with sinful areas in our lives, because Satan can use that attitude to draw us deeper into sin, but we also don’t want to focus so hard on our faults that we are hindered from reaching our full potential in Christ.

As my pastor most recently said “God’s anointing enables us to do what God calls us to do it doesn’t keep us from making mistakes.” Gospel artist Tye Tribbett put it this way “don’t let the now you ruin the future you.” It is a process to become who and what God has called us to be, and the road is often marked with mistakes and trials. But God’s love for us is not dependent on our success or failures and it never fails even when it is difficult for us to see our own potential. “For he chose us in him before the creation of the world to be holy and blameless in his sight. In love he predestined us to be adopted as his sons through Jesus Christ” (Ephesians 1:4-5). When we become our own worst enemy, no matter what mess we’ve gotten ourselves into, we should cling to the knowledge that we are chosen by God to be His children and to know Him in Christ Jesus. Hallelujah!

P.S. I also want to apologize for the sporadic nature of the posts on this blog, being consistent is something that I am continuing to work on but I pray this is a blessing!

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Don’t Let Me Get Me part 1

“Don’t let me get me, I’m my own worst enemy I’m a hazard to myself.”  Pink’s song “Don’t Let Me Get Me” perfectly describes the internal struggle we all go through when the obstacle hindering us from progressing forward is, in fact, ourselves. It’s so much easier to blame someone or something else, I would’ve completed that midterm on time if my roommate didn’t have her boyfriend over, I wouldn’t have made that mistake at work if my boss explained things better or I wouldn’t have snapped at my husband if he’d done the dishes last night like I asked.

It’s much harder to be honest with ourselves and admit I tend to procrastinate and didn’t do the midterm until the night before, I don’t listen well and missed key instructions for the assignment, I have a temper and the dishes being dirty was the last straw. Being your own worst enemy is extremely frustrating and disheartening because we often get in our own way. For example I met this amazing woman at a Networking panel but didn’t email her until two weeks later because I worried that she wouldn’t respond and procrastinated, I made the same mistake at work for the umpteempth time and snapped at my sister minutes after leaving church. I wondered what good am I to the kingdom if I can’t manage my emotions and control my flesh long enough to do what God calls me to do. Paul went through this same internal struggle, “I have discovered this principle in life that when I want to do what is right, I inevitably do what is wrong. I love God’s law with all my heart. But there is another power within me that is at war with my mind” (Romans 7:21-23 NLV).

Paul passionately expresses the internal conflict between the flesh and the Holy Spirit that every Christian struggles with. One of the reason’s why Satan’s lies hurt so much is because they have a kernel of twisted truth within them. Sometimes we are lazy, selfish, emotionally-led, cruel etc. we listen to the Accuser when he whispers that we aren’t worthy of knowing Christ’s love, can’t do anything right and should just give up. Praise God that we have His Word which is our “belt of truth” (Ephesians 6: 14 NIV) to guard against the enemy’s attacks. Paul may have felt conflicted but he begins Romans 8 with this exaltation “therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death” (Romans 8:1-2).

Before the Throne of God Above by Selah

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_xUK2Dx5RkY