‘Born Again’ Believers Faith Test…

Hebrews 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him.”

‘Born Again’ Believers Faith Test…

When trouble abounds in your life which question do you ask?

‘Why me? ‘or, ‘What is God trying to teach me? ‘

Think about the difference before you pass on from those two questions. The easiest to ask and our flesh begs us to do so is the first one. The second will require the faith that says God knows best for my life and His ways are better than mine. It may come down to whether we think our ways are better than God’s. Before you say that’s ridiculous think about all the reasons you apply to why trials come your way and what your thought process is when they do. And remember….

Isa 55:8 “For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, saith the Lord.”

James 1:2-3 “My brethren, count it all joy when you fall into various trials, knowing that the testing of your faith produces patience.”     As a ‘born again’ believer God has a purpose for trials and tribulations in our lives. When we fail to recognize that truth than we also fail to learn what our God is trying to teach us. And He loves us so much that He will probably bring that trial back our way, so we learn. Another reason for difficult moments coming into our lives is in the form of discipline. We truly do reap what we sew. That discipline also shows God’s love for us.

Gal 6:7 “Do not be deceived, God is not mocked; for whatever a man sows, that he will also reap.”

Heb 12:6-8 “For those whom the Lord loves He disciplines and He scourges every son whom He receives. It is for discipline that you endure, God deals with you as with sons; for what sons is there whom his father does not discipline? But if you are without discipline, of which all have become partakers, then you are illegitimate children and not sons.”

How do I react to the trials and discipline from God?

Proverbs 15:10, 11 “Harsh correction is for him who forsakes the way, and he who hates reproof will die. Hell, and destruction are before the Lord; So how much more the hearts of the sons of men.”

Have a great day seeking the King of Kings and Lord of Lords, Jesus!! And remember to accept trails and discipline sent from God and to learn the lesson the FIRST TIME! And even more importantly if this logic seems to not make sense to you then maybe you have not been ‘born again’. Listen to what God says about those outside of His family.

 John 3:3 “Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born [a]again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

 John 14:6 “Jesus said to him, “I am the way, the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through Me”

If you are one of His children, the beauty is that He loves us enough to send trials to spiritually mature us and discipline to correct us.

If you are not one of His then He is offering you the free gift of salvation. But don’t wait. This could be the last moment or chance you have.

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Where is God…

Romans 1:20a “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen…”

Where is God…

A couple had two little boys, ages 8 and 10, who were excessively mischievous. The two were always getting into trouble and their parents could be assured that if any mischief occurred in their town their two young sons were in some way involved. The parents were at their wits end as to what to do about their sons’ behavior. The mother had heard that a clergyman in town had been successful in disciplining children in the past, so she asked her husband if he thought they should send the boys to speak with the clergyman. The husband said, “We might as well as we need to do something before I really lose my temper!”

The clergyman agreed to speak with the boys, but asked to see them individually. The 8 year old went to meet with him first. The clergyman sat the boy down and asked him sternly, “Where is God?” The boy made no response, so the clergyman repeated the question in an even sterner tone, “Where is God?” Again the boy made no attempt to answer. So the clergyman raised his voice even more and shook his finger in the boy’s face, “WHERE IS GOD?”

At that the boy bolted from the room and ran directly home, slamming himself in the closet. His older brother followed him into the closet and said, “What happened?” The younger brother replied, “We are in BIG trouble this time. God is missing and they think we did it”

What a great day to bow down to the King of King and Lord of Lords!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Is God missing in your life? Look around you, the whole of creation screams of His handiwork and majesty.

Romans 1:20 “For the invisible things of him from the creation of the world are clearly seen, being understood by the things that are made, even his eternal power and Godhead; so that they are without excuse:”

The Secret to a Happy Marriage…

Gen 2:24 “Therefore a man shall leave his father and mother and be jointed to his wife, and they shall become one flesh.”

The Secret of a Happy Marriage…

There was once a man and woman who had been married for more than 60 years. They had shared everything. They had talked about everything. They had kept no secrets from each other except that the little old woman had a shoe box in the top of her closet that she had cautioned her husband never to open or ask her about.

For all of these years, he had never thought about the box, but one day, the little old woman got very sick and the doctor said she would not recover. In trying to sort out their affairs, the little old man took down the shoe box and took it to his wife’s bedside. She agreed that it was time that he should know what was in the box.

When he opened it, he found two crocheted doilies and a stack of money totaling $25,000. He asked her about the contents. “When we were to be married,” she said, “my grandmother told me the secret of a happy marriage was to never argue. She told me that if I ever got angry with you I should just keep quiet and crochet a doily.”

The little old man was so moved he had to fight back tears. Only two precious doilies were in the box. She had only been angry with him two times in all those years of living and loving. He almost burst with happiness.

“Honey,” he said, “that explains the doilies, but what about all of this money? Where did it come from?”

“Oh,” she said, “That’s the money I made from selling the doilies.”

Eph 4:26 “Be angry, and do not sin, do not let the sun do down on your wrath.”

Run, Christian, Run…

2 Tim. 4:7-8 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

Run Christian, Run….

      In scripture we are told our spiritual lives need to be viewed as a race and even as a war. Let’s focus on the race for a moment. As a runner I can relate best to that one. Understand that I am back in the pack but I do understand the preparation and the race itself. Many do not like running but there is so much discipline to be learned by what it takes to run in a race, especially in a Marathon.
Bob Wieland lost both of his legs in Vietnam. But that didn’t stop him from entering and finishing the Los Angeles Marathon. He completed it in a little over one week making every step with his arms and his hands. He even crossed America on his hands. It took him three years to do it!

If anyone had a reason to quit it would be Bob. Yet he chooses to finish his races. Your “race” is any track or ministry that God has set you on in your life. And we each have at least one spiritual gift supporting that race or ministry according to I Corinthians 11. You may have started well, but due to hardships you have stopped running. God encourages and challenges us; Galatians 6:9 “Let us not become weary in doing good, for at the proper time we will reap a harvest if we do not give up.” Or you may have not yet started even the preparation for the race.

There are many Biblical examples of runners who started, stopped but also restarted once they recognized their spiritual failure. Abraham started well, faltered, and got back on track. The race started with God directing him to leave his country, his people and his father’s household and go to a land that God would later show him. How many of us could or would respond to that directive by God. Talk about requiring faith. To his credit he obeyed. He left his comfort zone big. Just think about what he was asked to do and the fact that God did not tell him where He would direct him to. Most great works of God begin that way for our lives. It takes stepping into the water before the waters will part. And we many or most times do not know the paths God will lead us on until we begin the journey or are in the midst of the journey. It requires that trait called faith.

Heb 11:6 “But without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is a rewarder of those who diligently seek Him.”

As Abraham journeyed he left behind him a trail of altars of praise. At Shechem God appeared to him and he built an altar there to the Lord. I have a journal I keep that I hope acts as an altar of praise of our lives (Loie and I) for now and for the next generations to view. To God be the glory!!
As with each of us Abraham also failed. Genesis 12 says, “There was a famine…and Abram went down to Egypt.” A hard time hit and Abram’s faith literally went south. In Egypt, Abram made compromises that were unthinkable. A spiritual famine hit his life and his faith weakened for a moment. Out of fear he lied about his relationship with Sarah but God still protected him against himself and the world around him. It’s comforting to me to know that so many great Christians struggled. And more comforting to know that our God does not leave us when we fail. He patiently awaits our return.

I John 1:9 “If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
But the race was not over for Abraham or for us when we fail. He returned from his detour. Just like the direction we hear God giving to the Churches in Revelation 2:4, 5 “Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly, and will remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent.” he returned to where he had first built an altar. And he returned quick enough so that God did not remove his candlestick or ministry. There he called on the name of the Lord. He went back to the point of his original surrender which is how you get back on track. In our hearts we must go back to the time when God seemed so close and His will seemed so clear. At that original altar we ask for forgiveness and surrendered to Him again.

John 3:3 “ Jesus answered and said to him, “Most assuredly, I say to you, unless one is born [a]again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.”

When that paraplegic marathon participant crossed the finish line in a race he had every reason to quit, he explained it this way: “This was not natural; this was supernatural. It was only done by the grace of God.” That’s how you’ll finish the race you started!

2 Tim. 4:7-8 “I have fought a good fight, I have finished my course, I have kept the faith: Henceforth there is laid up for me a crown of righteousness, which the Lord, the righteous judge, shall give me at that day: and not to me only, but unto all them also that love his appearing.”

Heb 12:1, 2 ” Wherefore seeing we also are compassed about with so great a cloud of witnesses, let us lay aside every weight, and the sin which doth so easily beset us, and let us run with patience the race that is set before us, Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.”

So let’s get going or let’s return!!!!

What is my Purpose in life…self or God…

Genesis 3:1-5 “Now the serpent was more subtle than any beast of the field which the Lord God had made. And he said unto the woman, Yea, hath God said, you shall not eat of every tree of the garden? And the woman said unto the serpent, we may eat of the fruit of the trees of the garden: But of the fruit of the tree which is in the midst of the garden, God hath said, you shall not eat of it, neither shall you touch it, lest you die. And the serpent said unto the woman, you shall not surely die: For God does know that in the day you eat thereof, then your eyes shall be opened, and you shall be as gods, knowing good and evil.”

What is My Purpose in Life…self or God!

Just when does mankind fall into the trap of thinking they are God?

Self rules in the heart of every person, even at times among new creatures in Christ or ‘born again’ believers. Satan has not missed any opportunity to entice the world into seeking his delusionary prize of godhood. The idea that man could become a god, or part of God, or that he is a god but doesn’t yet realize his divinity, may seem farfetched to some people, but that’s because they are simply unaware of how prevalent this belief is. Furthermore, from a biblical perspective, the criterion for being a god is rather simple. Everyone who has not submitted to Jesus Christ and has not been reconciled to God through faith in Christ’s finished sacrifice as payment for his sins qualifies as a god–that is, an autonomous, or self-governing, being who has elevated self over his Creator. As Dave Hunt has noted, “The basic cause of the many problems in the world today is not that man fails to recognize his godhood but rather that there are about seven billion gods on this planet, each one doing his or her own thing.”

When you think about the spiritual movements of our day the temptations we encounter remains the same. The most destructive being that we are told that taking care of self, serving self and existing for self is all that really matters. We are told your purpose in life should be you. If you read Genesis 3:1-5 again you hear the same thing roughly 6,000 years ago. And it was called the first sin when two people decided self was more important than serving God.

Don’t allow yourself to be fooled by the same old lie.  One final challenge.  Listen to what Solomon said at the end of his life.

Ecclesiastes 1:9 “That which has been is what will be, That which is done is what will be done, And there is nothing new under the sun.”

 Ecclesiastes 12:13, 14 “Let us hear the conclusion of the whole matter: Fear God and keep His commandments, for this are man’s all. For God will bring every work into judgment, including every secret thing, whether good or evil.”

Managing Excess Emotional Baggage…

Matthew 11:28. “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.”

I Peter 5:7. “Cast all your anxiety on Him because He cares for you.”

Managing Excess Emotional Baggage!

That is a wonderful invitation from the lips of God. We all have emotional baggage. It could be you are carrying a lot of pain right now. Maybe you’ve got some crippling issues from your past. Maybe some bad news you got recently or an overload of stress. It could be you carry baggage from a divorce – it could be your own or maybe your parents’ divorce, or from some form of abuse or a bad relationship. Some of us are trying to carry the weight of a serious medical condition, a financial crisis, maybe a family issue.

A friend of mine had some very heavy baggage. One day in a doctor’s office, he heard one of those words we dread – cancer. He has a deadly cancer. He is supposed to have been gone three or four times already. He had ten operations in eight years, but when you talk to him you just can’t believe what he’s gone through, or he is going through. He’s like joyful. He’s positive. He’s interested in how you’re doing. It’s just hard to believe he could be carrying such heavy weight, yet seem so light. He was an encouragement to other patients. That’s what they told him. So his doctor called him in one day and said, “Can you visit some of my other patients? They need what you have.” What does he have? He made that clear the other day. He told me about others that he knows who are falling under the weight of cancer.

Then he just made this simple observation. He said, “They’re trying to handle it without a Savior.” Well that’s the difference for him – the Savior difference – the Jesus difference. He could be the difference for you. Let’s look at the baggage you’re carrying. I wonder if his words describe you, trying to handle it without a Savior. See you were never meant to carry that pain or that burden alone. Jesus says, “Come to me. I want to carry it.” He’s a burden carrier. He knows your pain. He understands it because He’s been here. He’s experienced everything from loneliness, to betrayal, to torture, to dying; and Jesus has dealt with the deadliest baggage of all that we carry; the sin of our lives. Because that will one day keep us out of heaven.

But the Bible says, “He carried our sins in His own body on the tree.” And the day you tell Him that you are trusting in Him to be your own Savior from your own sin, that’s the last day you will ever carry your burden alone. The strong arms of Jesus are reaching out to you right now, and He says, “Let me help you with your baggage. I can handle it. I already bore all the weight of all your sins on my cross. The rest is easy.” The promise of Jesus: “I will give you rest.”

Mat 11:28, 29 “Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.”

I Peter 3:15 “But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts, and always be ready to give an answer to everyone who asks you a reason for the hope that is in you, with meekness and fear;”

The 7 Ups…

The 7 Ups

  1. Wake Up!!

Decide to have a good day.

“Today is the day the Lord hath made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”

Psalms 118:24

  1. Dress Up!!

The best way to dress up is to put on a smile.

A smile is an inexpensive way to improve your looks.

The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at outward appearance; but the Lord looks at the heart.”

I Samuel 16:7

  1. Shut Up!!

Say nice things and learn to listen.

God gave us two ears and one mouth, so He must have meant for us to do twice as much listening as talking.

“He who guards his lips guards his soul.”

Proverbs 13:3

  1. Stand Up!!…

For what you believe in.

Stand for something or you will fall for anything.

Let us not be weary in doing good; for at the proper time, we will reap a harvest if we do not give up. Therefore, as we have opportunity, let us do good…”

Galatians 6:9-10

  1. Look Up !!…

To the Lord.

“I can do everything through Christ who strengthens me”.

Philippians 4:13

  1. Reach Up !!…

For something higher.

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart and lean not unto your own understanding. In all your ways, acknowledge Him, and He will direct your path.”

Proverbs 3:5-6

  1. Lift Up !!…

Your Prayers.

“Do not worry about anything; instead PRAY ABOUT EVERYTHING.”

Philippians 4:6

A POSITIVE THOUGHT If God had a refrigerator, your picture would be on it.

If He had a wallet, your photo would be in it.

He sends you flowers every spring, and a sunrise every morning.

Whenever you want to talk, He’ll listen.

What about the Christmas gift He sent you in Bethlehem; not to mention that Friday at Calvary.

Face it, He really loves you a lot.

John 3:16-18 “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whoever believes in Him should not perish but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world, but that the world through Him might be saved. He who believes in Him is not condemned; but he who does not believe is condemned already, because he has not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.”